European Ryder Cup stars in Wales Open field

Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open

Venue:
Celtic Manor, Newport
Date:
Thursday, 2 June-Sunday, 5 June
Coverage:
Updates on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales & BBC Radio Cymru. Live scorecard on BBC Sport website
Miguel Angel Jiménez
Spain's Miguel Angel Jiménez won the 1995 Wales Open at Celtic Manor

Ryder Cup winners Miguel Angel Jimenez, Graeme McDowell, Ross Fisher and Peter Hanson will be back at the Celtic Manor for the 2011 Wales Open.

The quartet will return to the scene of their 2010 Ryder Cup triumph to line up in the £1.8m tournament and compete for the 14th Wales Open title.

Also at Celtic Manor will be Europe captain Colin Montgomerie and former Ryder Cup winner Darren Clarke.

Two-time Major winning American John Daly has also confirmed his attendance.

Defending Wales Open champion McDowell and 2005 winner Jimenez will be joined by former Ryder Cup stars Paul Lawrie, the 1999 champion, Oliver Wilson, Soren Hansen and Thomas Bjorn, one of captain Montgomerie's Ryder Cup assistants, for the Newport tournament that starts on 2 June.

Jimenez, who won three times in 2010, paired with Hanson to defeat the American rookies, Jeff Overton and Bubba Watson at the Ryder Cup as the Spaniard claimed two points in Europe's 14-and-a-half to 13-and-a-half point win.

Swede Hanson won twice in 2010 to qualify for a Ryder Cup debut at Celtic Manor while Englishman Fisher, also a tournament winner in 2010, combined with Padraig Harrington for important wins against formidable opponents including Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk in Europe's victory.

But it was the impact of McDowell, who had tasted Wales Open glory at the Celtic Manor course just four months earlier, that Europe's 2010 Ryder Cup win was secured.

The US Open champion's win over Hunter Mahan in the final singles match sealed the European triumph in dramatic fashion.

Clarke climbed back into the top 100 of golf's world rankings with his win on a windswept final day on the Spanish island of Mallorca on Sunday.

After playing a big role as part of Montgomerie's backroom team at Celtic Manor, Clarke has now reset his sights on playing in The Ryder Cup once again in 2012.

"I still feel I have got a lot of golf left in me yet and I will be trying to qualify for the team," he said.

"I have still got an awful lot of things I want to do in the game.

"I want to start winning more frequently again. I am trying to get back into the world's top 50 and I am now not that far away. Another good result and I will be back in there."

His victory in Mallorca was his first since winning twice in 2008 and his 13th in total on The European Tour International Schedule, a tally which includes two world golf championship titles.

Other former Ryder Cup stars teeing up in the Wales Open include David Howell and Niclas Fasth.

Simon Khan, who defends his BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth next week, will also make the journey down the M4 hoping to regain the trophy he won in Wales in 2004 and in-form players among the starting field include David Horsey, Raphael Jacquelin and Anders Hansen.

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