News24

Match Play moves to Bulgaria

2012-10-22 17:36

Paris - Next year's edition of the Volvo World Match Play Championship will be held for the first time in Bulgaria, the Swedish car company announced on Monday.

It will be the first time the European PGA Tour's prestige event will have been held in eastern Europe in what Volvo described as reflecting "the true global nature and growing global appeal of golf".

The move from Spain, where the Match Play championship has been held for the last three years, is part of a plan to rotate the tournament between a few host destinations.

The tournament will be held at the Gary Player designed Thracian Cliffs Course overlooking the Black Sea from May 16-19.

The Volvo Match Play which assembles some of the top players in the world, who qualify on merit, was held at The European's Tour's Wentworth headquarters outside of London until 2009 when it was moved to southern Spain.

Past winners include Arnold Palmer, who won the inaugural tournament in 1964, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and Greg Norman.

Over the last three years, the field has been extended to 24 players divided into eight groups of three players to be played out on the Thursday and Friday with 16 players progressing to Saturday's knockout stage with the semi-finals and final held on the Sunday.

This year's championship final saw Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts defeat Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell in the final.

Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, in announcing his government's support said: "This is a real coup for Bulgaria being chosen to host such a prestigious international tournament with a rich heritage and sporting traditions.

"The vast media coverage will deliver a reputable boost for Bulgaria and our tourism industry. The recent growth of golf in our country will have the opportunity to be showcased around the world."

AFP