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The Globe and Mail

World Cup format to change with Olympics in mind

HAIKOU, China - The format of golf's World Cup will change in 2013 to mirror the competition at the 2016 Olympics when the sport makes its return to the Games in Brazil, organisers said on Saturday.

The tournament will also command world ranking points and bring back an individual four-round trophy for the first time since 1999 when Tiger Woods won the individual award in Malaysia.

Ken Chu, chairman and CEO of Mission Hills, confirmed the changes would be taking place for the 2013 event.

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"The World Cup will change format, and it will begin enjoying world rankings points, and it will still be held biennially and at around this time of year," he said.

"But with golf to be in the 2016 Olympics the equation in golf changes, and these changes to the World Cup will be having the Olympics in mind."

Chu, along with his younger brother Tenniel, Mission Hills vice chairman, held meetings earlier this week at Haikou with the Federation of Golf Tours heads, including PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and his European Tour counterpart, George O'Grady.

Chu indicated the Federation would release a joint statement shortly confirming the changes.

He also rejected suggestions this year's World Cup will be the last after some reports in the meda said the event would fold, saying they wanted it to exist as a memory to their late father, the industrial tycoon known as the "father of Chinese golf".

"I promise you, the World Cup will carry on whether sponsors leave us or not," Ken Chu told reporters, adding that the family would fund any future competitions if necessary.

Main sponsor Omega said while they welcomed the format changes, the date of the World Cup remains an issue.

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"We have not said we are pulling out," Omega President Stephen Urquhart, said, after reports the sponsor was planning to pull the plug on the event.

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