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VOLVO WORLD MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP


May 15, 2012


Maria Acacia

Rafa Cabrera Bello

Per Ericsson

Robert Karlsson

Guy Kinnings

Javier Lopez

Keith Waters


CASARES, SPAIN

PER ERICSSON:  I would like to welcome you here today on behalf of Volvo.  We at Volvo have been waiting almost a year for this day, waiting for the qualifying through The Race to Dubai, World Rankings and through winning Majors.
Today we will allocate all of the players into eight groups, and they are named off golf giants and some Volvo icons, as well.  It will be based, first of all, of the World Rankings of yesterday and then we'll make a draw.
Let me talk a little about the event.  This is the 47th event of The Volvo World Match Play Championship.  We have players from all areas in the world.  We have 13 different countries represented.  We have half the field are members of the US PGA Tour, we have three Spaniards for the first time, and we also  have six Major winners in the field.
And this stature of event is also reflected in the media exposure that this Volvo World Match Play Championship receives all over the world.  This tournament is broadcasted in more than 50 countries worldwide and it's reflected in all other forms of media, and that's why I want to thank you all for being here because you have spread the word across the world.  Thank you.
I want to brag a little bit from Volvo's point of view.¬† This is our 127th‑sponsored event; it's a world record in itself.¬† We utilise and use the opportunity to showcase our products and ourselves, and this week is a little special because we have the all‑new Volvo V40, it's not even produced yet.¬† We just have six samples all over the world and one is standing on the 10th tee and it's the hole‑in‑one prize this week.
So finally, to all of you, and to The European Tour, to Casares, IMG, to Finca Cortesin and all of our other business partners I want to thank you.  It promises to be a very good week; the stage is set, the stars are here, and let's hope for the best man to win.  Thank you.
GUY KINNINGS:¬† As Per pointed out kindly, we are delighted to be here for the 47th staging of the tournament.¬† Since Mark McCormack created The World Match Play Championship as a concept in 1964, won by our first‑ever client, Arnold Palmer, it's been an integral part of our golfing portfolio and one of the highlights of the year.
We are delighted that Mark's daughter, Leslie, is here with us, and you'll be hearing from her later; and also Sarah Wooldridge, who won't thank me for this, but has been working for IMG as long as this tournament has been in existence.
We are delighted to be hosting our third Volvo World Match Play with our long‑term partner, Volvo, and Per's excellent team at Volvo Event Management here at the beautiful venue of Finac Cortesin, and in partnership with The European Tour as we have so happily done for so many years.¬† Our thanks go to them and all of their support in working with us to help grow this historic event.
Year on year, this great event has been supported by the world's top players, and this year we have a fantastic collection of players from around the world; the number of enthralling stories that are likely to unfold this week, from the fact that Branden Grace has the chance to create the Volvo Slam, having won Volvo Golf Champions and the Volvo China Open and the possibility of the first Spanish winner since the great Seve won in 1991, with three of the stars to cheer on the Spanish stars in the field this week.
Match play always offers up the unexpected, and every player will be hoping to show off their match play skills during this, a Ryder Cup year, as well as playing for valuable Race to Dubai, Ryder Cup and World Ranking points.
Finally, thanks to all of you for helping to tell the story of this event that we are so proud of, and also just to say how proud I am of the IMG team who work so hard to ensure that everyone will hopefully enjoy another wonderful week of match‑play golf.¬† Many thanks.
KEITH WATERS:¬† Two weeks ago during the Open de Espa√Īa in Seville, The European Tour celebrated 40 years of existence.¬† The World Match Play had already been played eight times at Wentworth, The European Tour headquarters, by that time in April of 1972.
It's quite incredible that the World Match Play remains an iconic event, and we are delighted that it's part of The European Tour schedule today.
We would like to thank IMG for their continued support over those 47 years.  We know they are going to stage the tournament very professionally once again this week.  The support from Volvo, which goes back 25 years; they effectively transformed The European Tour in 1988 with their worldwide support.  And thanks to Per and his team, that support has continued in recent years.
We are very, very grateful, especially in these challenging markets that Volvo are sponsoring their third golf tournament already this season, following the Volvo Champions in Fancourt and Volvo China Open in Beijing a few weeks ago.  And special thanks to Javier and his team here at the resort; it is a wonderful place to come and play a tournament.
(Draw commences.)
       JAVIER LOPEZ:   For the Gary Player group, Tom Lewis will be playing with Ian Poulter and John Senden.
Next player to be drawn for the Mark McCormack group, Branden Grace.  He will be playing with Brandt Snedeker and Thomas Björn.
The player for the Greg Norman group, Camilo Villegas will play with Peter Hansen and Paul Lawrie in the Greg Norman group.
Next player to play in the Ian Woosnam group with Sergio Garcia and Alvaro Quiros is Tetsuji Hiratsutka.
Next sharing the Gustaf Larson group with Graeme McDowell and Robert Karlsson, Jbe' Kruger.
The next player for group of the founder of this tournament, Arnold Palmer, playing with Charl Schwartzel and Nicolas Colsaerts, Retief Goosen.
And to share the Assar Gabrielsson group with Justin Rose and Robert Rock, Darren Clarke.
And finally, playing with Martin Kaymer and Rafael Cabrera‑Bello in the Seve Ballesteros group, the Richard Finch.
On Thursday, there will be only eight matches.
Starting at 12.05, we will start with Ian Poulter and John Senden.
12.20 Brandt Snedeker and Thomas Björn.
12.35 Peter Hanson plays Paul Lawrie.
12.50 Sergio Garcia playing Alvaro Quiros.
13.05 Graeme McDowell will play Robert Karlsson.
13.20 Charles Schwartzel playing Nicolas Colsaerts.
13.35 Justin Rose plays Robert Rock.
And the final group will be at 13.50, Martin Kaymer against Rafael Cabrera‑Bello.
ROBERT KARLSSON:¬† I was obviously very lucky to be here, because Paul Casey wasn't able to be here, and I'm delighted to be here.¬† Even though it was a very, very late call, Sunday afternoon at three or four hours before the flight from Orlando, I knew I was coming here.¬† So my clothing ‑‑ as you can see, everything was in the laundry, I had six days in Jacksonville and now another two weeks here.¬† I have a wife on the way with some clothing (laughing).¬† She's coming, too.
MAR√ćA ACACIA:¬† Robert, you have won three times in Spain, once in '95, Turespana Open Mediterrania; and 2001 the Spanish Open at El Saler, another fantastic course; and you were crowned No. 1 of Europe just next door in Valderrama in 2008, so you must be feeling quite well in this country.
ROBERT KARLSSON:¬† Yeah, I think to be in this tournament‑‑ that's where I won both my events in Spain.¬† I obviously spent a lot of time here when I was young with the Swedish National Team.¬† That was before Finca Cortesin's time.¬† But I always liked it here and I've had some success.¬† It's great to be here and I'm looking forward to play.

Q.  Given that Volvooffered the sponsor's invites and the field is based off the World Rankings, why would Paul Casey and not Robert have been given the sponsor's invite?
PER ERICSSON:  Essentially, it was a close call, and Robert knows this from the beginning.  I had two choices, and the rationale was that Paul Casey missed out the Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa because of his injury; and he played in China; and I had a discussion with him whether he would play all of my tournaments next year to be able to repair that he didn't defend his title in South Africa, and he said yes to that.  So that's actually why Paul Casey got the invite.

Q.¬† Given the R&A's relaxation of the Pro‑Am, what happens on Wednesday when an amateur holes out?
PER ERICSSON:¬† Well, first of all I hope they don't damage the car.¬† Actually, for the Pro‑Am, we don't have the hole‑in‑one prize for the Pro‑Am.¬† We did have the hole‑in‑one prize in South Africa when we were playing with the pros at Volvo Golf Champions and there was a guy from Finland who was like seven centimetres off from winning a car as an amateur.¬† We were lucky there because he was short (laughing).
MAR√ćA ACACIA:¬†¬† Rafael, your victory in Dubai, did it change your game?
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† It had been a quality jump in my game.¬† It moved me up from 119th in the world to 60th in the world, and it's given me the opportunity to play inbig events like this one with world‑class players among other events that I had already played in the States, a few of the majors.
So it's definitely been a big improvement, or a big jump for me to keep progressing in this game.
MAR√ćA ACACIA:¬† And you said you were calculating about the different groups, you are in the Seve group playing against a good friend, Martin Kaymer.
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† Yeah, looking at this board, there's not a single group that you say, oh, this looks like a weak group or an easy group.¬† Not at all.¬† All of the players who are playing here I think have a very good reason to be here.¬† I mean, they are all winners; they are all really, really good players.
So we already know beforehand there was not going to be an easy group at all.  And just the fact of being in Seve's group, obviously if there's one group to be in, I would choose that.
MAR√ćA ACACIA:¬† And what about your group?
ROBERT KARLSSON:¬† It's like Rafael said, it's not any easy groups up there, and obviously Graeme is a match‑play specialist.¬† There is a reason why he was in the last match in The Ryder Cup.¬† So obviously match play, there's not many players that you would like.¬† He is definitely what you would like to avoid.¬† (Laughter).
Jbe' Kruger, I know he had a good run in South Africa, and it's going to be tough.  It's like every group, it's tough.  I think the really interesting one is with the three Brits in it; the Green group, I think it's going to be interesting.

Q.  To the three legs of the event, IMG, Finca Cortesin and Volvo, will the event continue here?  Is it a clear and bright future, or not?
PER ERICSSON:¬† I think you all know that we had a three‑year agreement to be here first in Spain.¬† We will, of course, evaluate this year before we say anything else.
But I can tell you from Volvo's point of view we have changed our strategy when it comes to golf.  We have 21 years with the Volvo Masters being here, and we have 17 years in China.  And we want to move our tournaments around, and that will be the case with the World Match Play.
We will move The World Match Play around the world.  We want to go back to Spain.  Whether that's going to be every third or fourth year, I'm not sure yet.  So for sure, we are not going to play The World Match Play just in Spain.  We want to come back to Spain.
There's a lot of different countries and regions that are approaching us and wanting to support this kind of tournament.   After this tournament, I will travel and we will see where we end up next year.  But most likely not in Spain next year; but in the future we will be back in Spain.
GUY KINNINGS:  Just to add to that from our perspective, obviously we have been delighted with how the event has been run here and it's great to have a venue that you know can host it as well as it does.
IMG has some experience in the past of moving events around as Per described and taking them to different regions and that can refresh the tournament each year and pass it on, and that's something we are looking at as a strong possibility as something we would be welcome to consider.
PER ERICSSON:  The problem is actually that the World Match Play really needs a very special venue like this one, and there are not that many very special venues in the world.  And to be able move it around, you really have to have a very special venue.  I think that's what these guys expect when they come to the World Match Play.

Q.  What are the Spanish chances this week?
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† For sure there's going to be one Spanish in the next round because there's two in one group, so for sure there's one Spanish going onto the final match play.
So, I mean, then I would just say a little bit about how much the tournament is worth.  It's just hard to predict, because sometimes you can play bad and go through and other times you play excellent and the guy who is in front of you plays just a bit better and he knocks you out.
So, really, match play, it's very commonly said, anything can happen.  We could all make the semifinals or we could all be home by Saturday morning.  So hopefully we will do as good as we can and we will try to perform our best.

Q.  And what form did you arrive in?
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† For myself, I'm really happy with how myself has been going.¬† It's been the best start of a season in my life for me, so obviously having the win in Dubai, and also a really good finish in Malaysia, finishing tied third, as well as having made every cut of every event I've played has given me lots of confidence and I'm really happy with my game at the moment.
Really looking forward to this week.

Q.  Any changes to the course?
JAVIER LOPEZ:  We changed hole No. 6 and hole 10 with better par 3s on the forward tees, so we will be playing from the yellow tee markers, they will be a little bit shorter and will have more spicy pin positions on those two pins.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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