The Volvo China Open, China's most venerable professional golf event received another major boost today with the news that the respective Ryder Cup captains, Colin Montgomerie (Europe) and Corey Pavin (USA) will line-up against each other in the same competitive field for the one and only time ahead of the 38th Ryder Cup in Wales in October, at the US$2.5 million European Tour / One Asia event at Suzhou Jinji Lake International GC from 15th - 18th April.
The two skippers will lock horns as non-playing captains as the USA defends the Ryder Cup it won on home soil at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky, USA in 2008 when the 38th Ryder Cup gets underway at Celtic Manor, Wales from 1st - 3rd October this year and persuading the pair to face-off in the US$2.5million national open championship of China is a significant coup for its organisers.
Making his second successive appearance in the Volvo China Open following a solid 25th place on debut last year, Montgomerie (47) said, "I have enjoyed a good record in China, winning the TCL in 2002 and both the Hong Kong Open and the Macau Open, so I would love to add China's national open championship to make it a full house."
He added, "Any tournament sponsored by Volvo enjoys a hallmark of quality and prestige and having been first into China, they are making their experience count by taking the Volvo China Open to the next level.
"With the inclusion of golf in the Olympic Games from 2016 onwards, I feel certain that golf in China will take another quantum leap forward from what is already one of the most remarkable sports development stories of all time and I am delighted to have the opportunity to be part of it whilst also helping to promote the Ryder Cup to the widest possible audience," said the man with eight Volvo-sponsored titles amongst his 40 victories worldwide.
Meanwhile, Montgomerie's rival Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin (USA) makes his debut on Chinese soil and says, "I met-up with Colin at the Volvo World Match Play Championship at the magnificent Finca Cortesín resort last fall and I am looking forward to mixing it with him and a very high-quality field with him in what will be our only competitive setting ahead of my USA team defending the Ryder Cup in Wales later this year.
"I have won my ‘home' Texas Open, the US Open as well as the German Open, the New Zealand Open twice; there is just something very special about playing a national ‘Open Championship,' and it is a real honour to be able to play the Volvo China Open where golf is growing faster than anywhere else on earth."
Pavin (50) added, " it will be great to showcase the Ryder Cup in China with both Colin and me playing in the Volvo China Open and let there be no doubt about it, we will both be going all out to win it and seize the initiative."
Ms. Janet Xu, Chairperson of both Jinji Lake Hotel Group and also Suzhou Jinji Lake International Golf Club is looking forward to welcoming the two Ryder Cup captains to her award-winning venue and says, "Awareness of the Ryder Cup is increasing here in China but with the respective captains for 2010, great golfers Colin Montgomerie and Corey Pavin making their only competitive appearance against each other before the big event in October at the Volvo China Open here at Jinji Lake next month, interest in and excitement about it will increase dramatically and we are honoured to host two such fine gentlemen, players and captains of Europe and the USA.
Volvo China Open organisers recently confirmed that world number 11 Henrik Stenson (Sweden) and Korean star YE Yang, the first Asian to win one of golf's four ‘Majors,' will also tee-up at jinji Lake International GC from 15th - 18th April and Per Ericsson, President & CEO, Volvo Event Management is delighted to add both Ryder Cup captains to what promised to be the best field in the 16-year history of the event.
"As the European Tour's most supportive sponsor over a 22-year period, Volvo is delighted to support the Ryder Cup organisers in emphasising the importance and the excitement of the bi-annual event between Europe and the USA in China and throughout Asia" he said.
"With two great ambassadors for their teams and for the game of golf, we are privileged to be able to put them in competition against each other just this once before they get down to planning their final strategies for the Ryder Cup victory," concluded Mr. Ericsson.
With prize money of US$2.5 million, the richest-ever Volvo China Open makes its debut at Suzhou Jinji Lake International Golf Club from 15th - 18th April 2010 when interest in the game will be at an all-time high courtesy of Tiger Woods return to competitive action at the US Masters one-week earlier and golf's inclusion in the Olympic Games from 2010, which is expected to trigger an explosion of interest in golf in China, with official China Golf Association forecasts of 20 million Chinese golfers by 2020.