Watching brief for Murdoch as Smith leads Scottish challenge
DAVID Murdoch is back to defend his world curling title - although not in the way he had hoped.
FLASHBACK: One year ago David Murdoch guided his rink to the world title, this year he will watch Warwick Smith defend his title as an alternate to the Scottish skip
Twelve months ago he skipped his Scottish rink to victory in Moncton, just weeks after also winning the European title.
But after disappointing at the Winter Olympics and failing at the Scottish Championships, he arrives at Cortina d'Ampezzo as alternate to Warwick Smith's rink, which is completed by David Smith, Craig Wilson and Ross Hepburn.
Five of the 12 teams in Italy are unchanged from Vancouver with Norwegian Thomas Ulsrud, the Olympic silver medallist, likely to start favourite in the absence of Canada's Kevin Martin.
Smith - who helped Murdoch win the world title in 2006 - will start his campaign against Ulsrud, who is promising to wear even crazier trousers than he did in Canada.
Elsewhere, China's Fengchun Wang, Denmark's Ulrik Schmid, France's Thomas Dufour and Germany's Andreas Kapp will look to improve on their performances one month ago, while the field is completed by hosts Italy, Canada, Japan, Sweden and the USA.