Resurgent Faldo earns World Matchplay call-up

Nick Faldo has received a surprise call-up to next week's 12-man field at the Cisco World Matchplay Championship at Wentworth.

Nick Faldo has received a surprise call-up to next week's 12-man field at the Cisco World Matchplay Championship at Wentworth.

Without a solo tournament win since March 1997 and in danger of falling outside the world's top 200 earlier this season, Faldo joins a line-up which for the first time in the event's 36-year history contains only one American, Bob May, who has never won on the US Tour. He came closest when beaten by Tiger Woods in a play-off for the US PGA title last month.

There are seven Europeans, including Darren Clarke, who originally stated he would miss the event because his wife, Heather, is expecting their second child. With the birth due this week, however, he has had a change of heart.

The others are Faldo, who last played in the tournament in 1994, the defending champion Colin Montgomerie, Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington, Thomas Bjorn and Sergio Garcia, who last year made a controversial first-round exit, almost hitting the match referee when he took off a shoe and kicked it.

Completing the line-up are the Masters champion and 1997 winner, Vijay Singh, the world No 2 and three-time winner Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and the 20-year-old Australian rookie Adam Scott.

Clarke's presence gives him the chance to complete a World Matchplay double this year. In February he beat Woods in the final of the Andersen Consulting World Championship version involving the game's top 64.

Faldo did not come close to qualifying for that, but he is guaranteed £50,000 even if he goes out in the first round. Winner of the title in 1989 and 1992, the 43-year-old Faldo is now back up to 113th in the world. Els, Westwood, Montgomerie and Singh are almost certain to be the four seeds who receive byes into the quarter-finals.

John Daly will be part of the American team at the Alfred Dunhill Cup at St Andrews in two weeks' time. Daly, who has not won a title anywhere since his Open triumph over the Old Course in 1995, will join Tom Lehman and a third player yet to be named.

WORLD MATCHPLAY FIELD (Wentworth, 5-8 October): E Els (SA), L Westwood (Eng), C Montgomerie (Sco), V Singh (Fij), D Clarke (N Irl), S Garcia (Sp), T Bjorn (Den), B May (US), P Harrington (Irl), R Goosen (SA), N Faldo (Eng), A Scott (Aus).

TEAMS FOR DUNHILL CUP (St Andrews, 12-15 October): Argentina: A Cabrera, J Coceres, E Romero. Australia: S Leaney, N O'Hern, P O'Malley. China: Wen-Chong Liang, Xiang-Bing Wu, Lian-Wei Zhang. England: R Chapman, B Davis, J Spence. France: T Levet, J F Remesy, J Van de Velde. Germany: T Gogele, B Langer, S Struver. Ireland: P Harrington, P McGinley, D Smyth. Japan: I Aoki, T Nishikawa, T Watanabe. New Zealand: M Campbell, G Turner, G Waite. Scotland: A Coltart, C Montgomerie, G Orr. South Africa: E Els, D Frost, R Goosen. Spain: M A Jimenez, M A Martin, J M Olazabal. Sweden: M Gronberg, P-U Johansson, P Sjoland. United States: J Daly, T Lehman, third tba. Wales: D Park, P Price, I Woosnam. Zimbabwe: T Johnstone, M McNulty, N Price.

Comments