European Golf Tour
PGA European - Volvo World Match Play Championship Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, May 16th through Sunday, May 19th
SITE: Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort, Kavarna, Bulgaria
COURSE ARCHITECT: Gary Player (2011)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,291
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 457 Yds10 - Par 4 343 Yds
2 - Par 3 210 Yds11 - Par 4 419 Yds
3 - Par 4 416 Yds12 - Par 5 546 Yds
4 - Par 5 692 Yds13 - Par 4 390 Yds
5 - Par 5 573 Yds14 - Par 4 396 Yds
6 - Par 4 382 Yds15 - Par 4 466 Yds
7 - Par 3 157 Yds16 - Par 5 587 Yds
8 - Par 3 231 Yds17 - Par 3 174 Yds
9 - Par 4 330 Yds18 - Par 4 522 Yds
35 3,448 Yds37 3,843 Yds
Annual:  48th
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Friday -- 8 a.m.-12 p.m. (et),
  - Saturday -- 6:30-11:30 a.m. (et),
  - Sunday -- 6 a.m.-12 p.m. (et)
Defending Champion:  Nicolas Colsaerts
Runner-Up:  Graeme McDowell
Largest Winning Margin in Final:  Paul Casey def. Shaun Micheel, 10 & 8, 2006
Longest Match in Final:  Gary Player def. Graham Marsh, 1-up (40 holes), 1973
Largest Winning Margin in any match:  Retief Goosen d. J.Maggert, 12&11, 2004;
  Retief Goosen d. M.Hensby, 12 & 11, 2005
Longest Match:  Michael Campbell def. Nick Faldo, 1-up (43 holes), 2002
Best Single Round:  60 (Ernie Els, 2002)
Best Match Scores:  15-under-par (Ernie Els, 2002 - 31 holes);
  (Colin Montgomerie, 2000 - 33 holes);
  (Sandy Lyle, 1986 - 37 holes)
Total Purse:  $3,882,948 (3,000,000 euros)
Shares:  1st Place - $1,035,372; 2nd - $517,686; Semifinalists - $258,825
2012 Finish
Nicolas ColsaertsWonRetief GoosenT-5
Graeme McDowell2ndBrandt SnedekerT-5
Paul LawrieT-3Alvaro QuirosT-5
Rafael Cabrera-BelloT-3Eight players atT-9
Sergio GarciaT-5
Past Volvo World Match Play Championship Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2012Nicolas Colsaerts (1-up) -- Graeme McDowell
2011Ian Poulter (2&1) -- Luke Donald
2010Not Held
2009Ross Fisher (4&3) -- Anthony Kim
2008Not Held
2007Ernie Els (6&4) -- Angel Cabrera
2006Paul Casey (10&8) -- Shaun Micheel
2005Michael Campbell (2&1) -- Paul McGinley
2004Ernie Els (2&1) -- Lee Westwood
2003Ernie Els (4&3) -- Thomas Bjorn
2002Ernie Els (2&1) -- Sergio Garcia
2001Ian Woosnam (2&1) -- Padraig Harrington
2000Lee Westwood (38th hole) -- Colin Montgomerie
1999Colin Montgomerie (3&2) -- Mark O'Meara
1998Mark O'Meara (1-up) -- Tiger Woods
1997Vijay Singh (1-up) -- Ernie Els
1996Ernie Els (3&2) -- Vijay Singh
1995Ernie Els (3&1) -- Steve Elkington
1994Ernie Els (4&2) -- Colin Montgomerie
1993Corey Pavin (1-up) -- Nick Faldo
1992Nick Faldo (8&7) -- Jeff Sluman
1991Seve Ballesteros (3&2) -- Nick Price
1990Ian Woosnam (4&2) -- Mark McNulty
1989Nick Faldo (1-up) -- Ian Woosnam
1988Sandy Lyle (2&1) -- Nick Faldo
1987Ian Woosnam (1-up) -- Sandy Lyle
1986Greg Norman (2&1) -- Sandy Lyle
1985Seve Ballesteros (6&5) -- Bernhard Langer
1984Seve Ballesteros (2&1) -- Bernhard Langer
1983Greg Norman (3&2) -- Nick Faldo
1982Seve Ballesteros (37th hole) -- Sandy Lyle
1981Seve Ballesteros (1-up) -- Ben Crenshaw
1980Greg Norman (1-up) -- Sandy Lyle
1979Bill Rogers (1-up) -- Isao Aoki
1978Isao Aoki (3&2) -- Simon Owen
1977Graham Marsh (5&3) -- Ray Floyd
1976David Graham (38th hole) -- Hale Irwin
1975Hale Irwin (4&2) -- Al Geiberger
1974Hale Irwin (3&1) -- Gary Player
1973Gary Player (40th hole) -- Graham Marsh
1972Tom Weiskopf (4&3) -- Lee Trevino
1971Gary Player (5&4) -- Jack Nicklaus
1970Jack Nicklaus (2&1) -- Lee Trevino
1969Bob Charles (37th hole) -- Gene Littler
1968Gary Player (1-up) -- Bob Charles
1967Arnold Palmer (1-up) -- Peter Thomson
1966Gary Player (6&4) -- Jack Nicklaus
1965Gary Player (3&2) -- Peter Thomson
1964Arnold Palmer (2&1) -- Neil Coles
Note:Formerly called Piccadilly Match-Play (1964-76), Colgate Match-Play
(1977-78), Suntory Match-Play (1979-90), Toyota World Match Play Championship (1991-97), Cisco World Match Play Championship (1998-2002), HSBC World Match Play Championship (2003-07).

Top Contenders in the Field
Nicolas Colsaerts------------T-3Won
Graeme McDowell------------T-52nd
Ian Poulter------------WonT-9
Branden Grace---------------T-17
Peter Hanson---------------T-17
Francesco Molinari------------T-5---
Henrik Stenson------T-3T-9------
Geoff OgilvyT-9---------------
Felipe Aguilar------------------
Thomas Aiken------------------
K. Aphibarnrat------------------
George Coetzee------------------
Jamie Donaldson------------------
G. Fdez-Castano------------------
Stephen Gallacher------------------
Thongchai Jaidee------------------
Scott Jamieson------------------
Shane Lowry------------------
Thorbjorn Olesen------------------
Carl Pettersson------------------
Brett Rumford------------------
Richard Sterne------------------
Bo Van Pelt------------------
Chris Wood------------------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Nicolas Colsaerts
Darkhorse - Kiradech Aphibarnrat
Last Week's Pick to Win (Alexander Noren) - Finished tied for 41st
Last Week's Darkhorse (Paul Waring) - Finished tied for 21st
The Volvo World Match Play Championship takes place this week in Bulgaria, as 12 of the top 50 players in the world are competing. The field is led by world No. 8 Graeme McDowell. He is joined by 2011 champion Ian Poulter (15), Peter Hanson (23) and Bo Van Pelt (26), who is the only American in the field.

McDowell has four top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this season, including a victory at the RBC Heritage. This will be his first tournament of the year in Europe.

The hottest player in the field is world No. 76 Brett Rumford, who has won his last two events. Rumford won the Ballantine's Championship and Volvo China Open in back-to-back weeks. This week, he will try to become only the third player in European Tour history to win three tournaments in a row. Golf legends Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros are the only players to accomplish this feat.

The 24-man field is divided into eight groups of three players, with everyone playing two matches and the top two players from each group advancing to the single elimination matches on Saturday and Sunday.

This year's tournament will be held at Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort in Kavarna, Bulgaria, for the first time. The last three years were staged at Finca Cortesin in Spain. This will be the first time that Bulgaria has hosted a European Tour event. Bulgaria will become the 40th different nation to stage a European Tour event.

Last year, Nicolas Colsaerts defeated McDowell, 1-up, in the final. Colsaerts earned his second European Tour title following his victory at the 2011 China Open. Colsaerts became the first Belgian to win twice on the European Tour.

In 2011, Poulter rolled in a 6-foot par putt on the 17th hole in the final to beat Luke Donald, 2 & 1. Poulter earned his 11th European Tour title. It was the first all-English final in tournament history.

Ernie Els defeated Angel Cabrera in 2007, 6 & 4, to win this event for a record seventh time. Els previously won in 1994-96, 2002-04. Els won at the Wentworth Club in England, which he helped redesign. Els has appeared in the championship match eight times, losing only to Vijay Singh in the final in 1997.

In 2006, Paul Casey easily defeated Shaun Micheel to win. Casey took a commanding lead late in the morning round, kept his foot on the pedal and cruised to a 10 & 8 win in the 36-hole final. It was the largest winning margin for a final match in event history.

Michael Campbell held off Irishman Paul McGinley, 2 & 1, in the final to win in 2005. Campbell, who won the U.S. Open earlier in 2005, became the fourth player to win both events in the same year, joining Gary Player (1965), Hale Irwin (1974) and Els (1994).

Five-time winners of this event are Ballesteros and Gary Player, while Greg Norman and Ian Woosnam are three-time winners. When Woosnam won in 2001, he became the oldest winner in tournament history as he defeated Padraig Harrington. At the age of 43, Woosnam outlasted Harrington, 2 & 1, as he equaled his own record of seven successive birdies and broke the front-nine scoring record when he shot 28. Woosnam came back from 3-down to become the first player to win the title in three different decades.

The European Tour travels to England next week for the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club, where Donald has won the last two years.

05/15 09:53:56 ET

As of May 15, 2013, at 09:54 AM ET