Poulter and Rose in synch on cup mission

England were due to play in the final grouping of the World Cup here in Shenzhen this morning alongside the American pairing and it had promised to be quite a contrast. On one side of the fairway were a couple of smart lads from the Home Counties decked out, rather resplendently, in matching outfits, while on the other were two of the good ol' boys from redneck country, where sometimes even the socks struggle to be colour-coordinated.

Even so, Boo Weekley and Heath Slocum have made something of an effort by both wearing belts with huge "USA" buckles, but still their match with Justin Rose and Ian Poulter was gearing up to be one of those collisions of cultures this tournament so desperately wants to differentiate itself.

Not that Mission Hills is failing in its pledge to provide something out of the norm on the professional golfing circuit. While the Olazabal Course they are using – in all they had 12 to pick from – could have been plonked in any hilly area, the staff and the spectators are uniquely Far East. If it is not the policemen who salute players, officials, even the press on every tee, fairway and green, then it is the fans who have not yet quite got to grips with the whole etiquette issue.

They noisily walk up pathways just as the players are in mid-swing, chat away on phones as putts are being struck, click on their video cameras as drives are being unleashed: in fact, how Colin Montgomerie did not go totally chicken oriental out there in the first two days is anybody's guess. (As it was, going into today's third round, the Scot together with Marc Warren, were on the same mark as England, just the one shot back from the Americans, who were on 14-under.)

But as Weekley acknowledged, "they do appreciate the good shots, especially those little caddies". The 34-year-old was referring to the young ladies in the red uniforms who are possibly the most memorable aspect of this staggering resort. In all, there are 3,000 of them, all female, all aged 18 to 25 and all living in a community on site. They receive six months' training before they are allowed to pick up a member's or guest's bag, but when they do they are ready to dish out more than just clubs and yardages.

Mission Hills' owner, Dr David Chu, realised his golf virgin countrymen needed education in the finer aspects of the game but also knew that the macho, hard-bitten businessmen attracted here would not take too kindly to being told what to do by other males. Hence the females and hence the prestige of these caddying positions. "They come from all over China when we advertise," says Carol Chu, who helps her billionaire father run the place, "and there are at least 10 applicants for every job."

That is hardly a surprise when one discovers that they are given intensive golf coaching as part of their employment as well. Indeed, of China's 20 touring women professionals, seven learnt their trade at Mission Hills. That is some ratio and only goes to highlight the Chus' influence on the game and, indeed, on sport in this country. Dr Chu was instrumental in netting the Olympics for Beijing in his role as strategic adviser and in an annual survey was recently named as the 16th most important figure in golf. Whispers suggest this development is not unanimously popular at national or local level, but what cannot be doubted is that the 12-year commitment has saved the World Cup.

What it requires are more days like yesterday when the foursomes whipped around, leaving plenty of birdies, bogeys, thrills and spills in their wake. It is a different style of golf, otherwise seen only in the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup or the Seve Trophy and one which requires the partners to compromise and trust each other. Poulter and Rose were perfection in spikes on their first nine, going out in a four-under par 32. "There was one stage when we were more under par with the one ball than we had been with the two balls on Thursday," Poulter said, before agreeing that they let it slip slightly in their 68.

It was back to the better ball format this morning, for which record crowds were anticipated. Of course, with four balls in play there is more incentive for the crowd to scream and shout. As if this lot need it.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week