Day, Scott head impressive World Cup of Golf field
Early commitments from some of golf’s biggest stars for the 58th staging of the World Cup of Golf at Melbourne’s Kingston Heath Golf Club suggest golf fans will be in for an absolute treat, with the depth of field already rivalling that of the 2013 event at Royal Melbourne.
The 2016 World Cup of Golf will return to the past with a format of 28 two-man teams, headed by defending champions Jason Day and Adam Scott of Australia, and will be staged from November 23-27.
Jason Day and Adam Scott, winners of the 2013 World Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Club (Credit: Anthony Powter)
While the highest-ranked players from their respective countries have committed to the World Cup of Golf, players have until August 26th to choose their playing partner. Some players have opted to do so already, while others will take their time in deciding their teammate.
Headlining the field are Day and Scott, who return to defend their title from the last playing of the World Cup of Golf in 2013.
“The victory at the 2013 World Cup of Golf was a kick-start to a phenomenal stretch of golf for me,” world number one Day said.
“I am truly looking forward to the new team format with Adam. I really can’t imagine a better scenario than to represent Australia in our home country, with one of my good mates at Kingston Heath, one of my all-time favourite courses.”
In a surprise to nobody, Day selected Scott as his partner with the Queenslander returning to his favourite Australian golf course where he has a past pedigree as a winner of the Australian Masters in 2012.
“Since the announcement that the World Cup of Golf was returning to a true, team format and would be played at Kingston Heath, one of my favourite courses in the world, I have been looking forward to teaming up with Jason to defend our 2013 title,” Scott said.
“I am excited to be representing my country alongside Jason, whose recent record shows why he is one of the most talented players in the game.“
The confirmation of nine-time PGA TOUR winner and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson’s return to Melbourne is another reason for fans to be rushing through the gates to witness his unique and exciting brand of attacking golf.
Watson is yet to choose a partner to join him for his first appearance for the United States at the World Cup of Golf but, buoyed by his tied 8th finish at the Olympics, he cited pride in playing for his country as one of the reasons for committing to the World Cup of Golf.
“Anytime I can represent my country, I get excited. It is a great honour to put on the red, white and blue,” Watson said. “I’ve been wanting to make the World Cup of Golf team for a while. I love the team format, it is different to other events that we play and I know it will be a great experience.”
“I have visited Melbourne a couple of times. I love going to Australia, the Sandbelt courses are awesome. They normally play super fast and you have to be creative to play well which suits my game.”
“Australians are huge sport fans and that creates a special atmosphere. I can’t wait to get down there.”
Reigning Masters champion Danny Willett and his countryman Lee Westwood, who were paired together in the final round at The Masters this year, will form a powerful combination in Melbourne.
The World Cup of Golf will be the third such chance that Willett will get to play representative golf this year, after playing in the Olympics for Great Britain and as a certainty for Europe in their upcoming Ryder Cup defence in October.
“It’s always great to represent your country. You don’t get the chance to do it too often so I’m excited about playing the World Cup. I was at Royal Melbourne in 2013, and although I didn’t play as well as I would’ve liked, it was a cracking course and I’ve heard Kingston Heath is just as good,” Willett said.
“It’s a different format this time so I’m really looking forward to playing with ‘Westy’ [Lee Westwood]. He’s played in nine Ryder Cups and has unbelievable experience of foursomes and fourballs, so I couldn’t have picked a better partner.”
Others to commit include Japan’s top player Hideki Matsuyama, who will be making his first Australian tournament appearance, and a host of others who have been recent winners on the PGA TOUR and European Tours: Rafa Cabrero-Bello, Emiliano Grillo, Soren Kjeldsen, David Lingmerth, Alex Noren, Russell Knox, Shane Lowry, Danny Lee, Joost Luiten and Jhonattan Vegas.
Returning to Melbourne after appearing for their countries in the 2013 Cup will be European stars Victor Dubuisson, Francesco Molinari, Nicolas Colsaerts, Thorbjorn Olesen and Bernd Wiesberger, while Hall of Famer Vijay Singh will be returning once again to a city he might regard as ‘home’, with many family members still residing in the southern capital.
In addition to Matsuyama, the Asian representation is already highly impressive with commitments received from the popular Thailand’s Thonghai Jaidee, China’s Wu Ashun, Korea’s Byeong Hun An and the talented Miguel Tabuena from The Philippines.
PGA of Australia CEO, Brian Thorburn said, “Australia is a proud sporting nation and golf holds a special place on the sporting landscape each summer.
“Bringing the world’s best players to Australia is a coup for our country. We hope that by having these talented athletes, including our own World Number 1 Jason Day, on our shores will help inspire the next generation of Aussie golfers,” Mr Thorburn said.
Tickets and hospitality packages starting at $30 are now available by visiting the World Cup of Golf website at www.worldcupofgolf.com.