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Golf notebook: Europeans will battle Asians in new event

The SportsXchange

--The EurAsia Cup, a new match-play event between Europe and Asia, will be part of the 2013-14 European Tour International Schedule, which will start in November.

The team event will be played at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Malaysia from March 28-30, 2014, and will be co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the Asian Tour.

The format will be similar to the Ryder Cup, but with 10 players from Europe playing against 10 from Asia, rather than 12.

"We are all excited by the prospect of this match-play event between Europe and Asia," said Keith Waters, the European Tour's chief operating officer and director of international policy

"Our thanks go to DRB-HICOM (the presenting sponsor), Glenmarie Golf and Country Club, Professional Golf of Malaysia and the Malaysian government for supporting this event. ... (It) extends the European Tour's already strong partnership with the Asian Tour that dates back to 1999, when Malaysia staged the first co-sanctioned event between the two Tours."

Europe will select the leading four players available from the final Race to Dubai rankings at the end of the this season, the leading four players available from the Official World Golf Rankings on Feb. 3, 2014, and two captain's picks.

The Asian team will include the leading four available Asian players from the final 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit, the leading three available Asian players in the Official World Golf Ranking and three captain's picks.

The two captains will be chosen by at a later date.

The inaugural EurAsia Cup will be held 15 years after the first event to be co-sanctioned between the two Tours, the Malaysian Open.

The EurAsia Cup is one of two new events announced on the European schedule, which also will include the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa, from Dec. 5-8, 2013.

With a prize fund of $6,500,000, the Nedbank Golf Challenge will be co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour and will feature a 30-player field boasting some of the world's leading stars.

It is one of seven events in South Africa on 2013-14 European Tour schedule, which will start with the South African Open at Glendower Golf Club in Johannesburg from Nov. 21-24, 2013.

--Dave Thomas of Wales, a former Ryder Cup player who became a renowned golf course designer, died at the age of 79 at a hospital near his home in Estepona, Spain.

Thomas was presented with honorary life membership of the European Tour earlier this year.

"He was a larger than life character, a truly great guy, and our condolences are with his partner Carol and Dave's sons Michael and Paul," said George O'Grady, chief executive of the European Tour. "Wherever the tour has traveled, from Britain to the continent to the rest of the world, we have played on courses designed by Dave, and both as a player and an architect he leaves a lasting legacy to the game he truly loved."

Thomas, born and raised in Newcastle, Wales, turned pro in 1949 after watching some of the game's great champions including Fred Daly, Max Faulkner and the legendary Sam Snead competing in the Ryder Cup at Ganton Golf Club in North Yorkshire, England.

He captured 15 professional victories in his career between 1955 and 1969, in addition to playing on five Ryder Cup teams, posting a 3-10-5 record, including 3-2-2 in foursomes.

Thomas twice finished second in the Open Championship among his four top-10 results, losing in a playoff to Peter Thomson of Australia in 1958 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, and tying for second behind Jack Nicklaus in 1966 at Muirfield.

Although he never played full-time on the PGA Tour, he won a U.S. Open qualifying tournament in 1964 and also finished second in the St. Paul Open.

Thomas, who was elected to the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, represented Wales 11 times in the World Cup of Golf.

Back and eye problems ended Thomas' playing career prematurely, but he turned to golf course design and created more that 100 courses around the world, teaming with Peter Alliss to design the famed Brabazon Course at the Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England.

The Brabazon Course has hosted the Ryder Cup four times.

--There's another Watson on the pro staff at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

Bubba Watson, the 2014 Masters champion, has signed up and will play the PGA Tour with the Greenbrier logo on his golf bag. He had never seen the resort until he tied for 30th in the Greenbrier Classic on the Old White TPC Course in July.

"I was blown away when I played the Old White TPC earlier this year," said Watson, who was so enthralled by the Greenbrier that he purchased a home on the property.

"My family and I had a great time experiencing all of the different amenities the property offers and decided this was the perfect place for us."

Watson joined Webb Simpson, Kenny Perry and Tom Watson, the Greenbrier's pro emeritus, as touring pros on the Greenbrier staff.

The Greenbrier will introduce a set of "Bubba tees" that guests can play on the Old White. Those who break 90 from those back tees will have their names entered in a raffle, and two winners will have a chance to play a round of golf with Watson.

--Inbee Park, the No. 1 player in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings, withdrew from the Safeway Classic last week, citing an illness.

Park has six victories this season on the LPGA Tour, including three major titles, and is one of only three players to have won more than once on the circuit this season.

"I'm disappointed I will be unable to play this week in Portland due to an illness," Park said via the LPGA Tour's Twitter feed. "Safeway is such a great supporter of our Tour and I always look forward to playing in front of the great crowds in Oregon."

The 25-year-old South Korean has failed to finish inside the top 10 in her last three events after winning three consecutive tournaments, including her second and third major championships of the year.

Park was tied for the lead with Cristie Kerr after two rounds of the CN Canadian Open in her last outing two weeks ago, but she played the weekend in 74-70 and slid to a tie for 13th.

There was no word on whether the illness had an effect on her performance in the last two rounds in Canada.

Park hopes to next week return for the Evian Championship in Evian-les-Bains, France, the fifth and final major on the LPGA Tour this season.

--The Tampa Bay Championship, which has been played on the PGA Tour since 2000, was held without a title sponsor this year and could be in jeopardy for the 2014 because it has yet to line one up.

Commissioner Tim Finchem did not sound optimistic when asked if he thinks tournament officials can find a title sponsor in time for the tournament to be placed on the 2013-14 schedule.

"I don't think I want to confirm any deadlines," Finchem said when asked about a rumor that the PGA Tour has given a deadline of this week for a title sponsor to be found.

"We're making progress in talking about Tampa. And we don't have anything to announce right now, but hopefully we will in the short term."

The Tampa Bay Championship, which is played on the Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Resort is part of the PGA Tour's early season Florida Swing, which also includes the Honda Classic at PGA National, the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral and the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

There has been speculation that the Puerto Rico Open, which has been played since 2008 as an opposite-field event for players not qualified for the WGC event at Doral, could replace the Tampa Bay Championship on the schedule.

"We're looking at a number of options with respect to Tampa," Finchen said. "It's just speculative."

Kevin Streelman captured the Tampa Bay Championship earlier this year. Other winners of the tournament include Luke Donald in 2012, Gary Woodland in 2011, Jim Furyk in 2010, Retief Goosen in 2003 and 2008, Vijay Singh in 2004 and K.J. Choi in 2002 and 2006.

--Six-time major champion Nick Faldo announced that he will make his debut on the Champions Tour in the SAS Championship at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, N.C. from Oct. 11-13.

The 56-year-old Faldo, who won 50 times in his career en route to being elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1997, is lead analyst for golf coverage on CBS and has played sparingly in recent years.

"This is the first time I've entertained thoughts of committing myself and playing again," said Faldo, who shot 79-78--157 and missed the cut by seven strokes in the Open Championship earlier this year at Muirfield, where he claimed the Claret Jug in 1987 and 1992.

It was his first start in the Open since 2010 at St. Andrews, where he shot 72-81--153 and missed the weekend, also by seven shots.

"I look forward to the preparation and testing my competitive skills again. ... I'm happy it all worked out this way and that the SAS Championship will be my Champions Tour debut."

Faldo captured Masters championships in 1989, 1990 and 1996, claimed a third Open title in 1990 at St. Andrews, and spent 97 weeks at No. 1 in the World Golf Rankings.

Sir Nick was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2009.

--Bill Campbell, the 1964 U.S. Amateur champion who played on eight Walker Cup teams and later served two years as president of the United States Golf Association, died at the age of 90 at his home in Lewisburg, W.Va.

Campbell was USGA president from 1982-83 and served on the organization's executive committee for 10 years.

"Mr. Campbell was one of the game's great champions and finest gentlemen," USGA executive director Mike Davis said. "His contributions to amateur golf and to the USGA have been many and profound."

In 1987, Campbell became only the third American to be elected captain of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews, and the only man to have led both the R&A and the USGA.

Campbell, who graduated from Princeton in 1947 after serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, remained an amateur golfer his entire career, competing in the U.S. Amateur for 33 consecutive years.

In 1964, he defeated Edgar M. Tutwiler, 1 up, in the final of the U.S. Amateur at Canterbury Golf Club in Beachwood, Ohio. He also captured the U.S. Senior Amateur twice and the North & South Amateur four times.

Campbell played on eight Walker Cup teams from 1951 to 1975, never losing a singles match and never playing on a losing team. He was the playing captain in 1955.

In addition, he made 14 appearances in the U.S. Open and 17 in the Masters.

Campbell was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1990.
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