Scott, Day looking to break World Cup drought

The 2013 World Cup of Golf starts Thursday at Royal Melbourne Golf Club where it will be held for the fourth time in the tournament’s 60-year history, and the first since 1988.

Australia will be represented by Adam Scott and Jason Day, with Matt Kuchar and Kevin Streelman lining up for the USA.

Jason Day Jason Day (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Team USA has won a World Cup-record 24 titles in event history, and Matt Kuchar helped deliver their most recent triumph in 2011.

Australia owns a total of four World Cup titles overall, including Peter Thomson and Kel Nagle’s victory at Royal Melbourne in 1959. Our last victory was secured by Peter Fowler and Wayne Grady in 1989.

This year’s event sees some changes to the format, which has drawn both positive and negative criticism for detracting from what is a traditional ‘team’ focused event.

In 2011 at Mission Hills in China, the winning USA team of Kuchar and Gary Woodland shared $US2.4 million between them, from a total pool of $US7.5 million. The format was fourball and foursomes over the four days with no individual winner identified.

This year’s tournament at Royal Melbourne will revert to a 72-hole stroke play event, each team’s total being the aggregate of the two players’ scores.

The teams will split $1 million in prizemoney, the individuals will share $7 million and, for the first time, the tournament also attracts rankings points.

That adds to the appeal for US Masters champion Scott, who is hunting down Tiger Woods and the number one world ranking following his Australian Masters win on Sunday.

If Scott continues his winning ways this week and at next week’s Australian Open, he could go into 2014 with less than a point separating him from the once-untouchable Woods atop the world rankings.

Before his Australian Masters win, Scott was three points adrift, with Woods on 12.26 and Scott on 9.25.

“It’s an important tournament, it’s a World Golf Championship event and now it’s got that individual focus. I think it’s going to take a step up from where it was,” said Scott on Sunday.

“Certainly you can see that a lot of guys are coming a long way to play for a huge purse and world ranking points.”

With Australia a warm favourite for the World Cup, then the Australia Open at Royal Sydney the week after, Scott is in position for an unprecedented month to cap off an amazing year.

“I know there’s a big focus on the individual prize, but there still is a team event and I think it would be great for the tournament and also Jason and I to win the World Cup down here.”

The richest golf tournament held in this country has drawn four players from the world’s top 30 in the sixty man field: Scott (2), Matt Kuchar (8), Graeme McDowell (11) and Jason Day (20).

Other notable teams include Italians Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero, both ranked inside the world’s top-40, and Fiji’s former world No.1 Vijay Singh, 3rd in the Australian Masters, will compete but doesn’t have a teammate.

The World Cup has seen the game’s greatest names, and won by many of them, including Ben Hogan and Sam Snead (US, 1956); Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer (USA, 1963-64, 1966-67); Gary Player and Harold Henning (South Africa, 1965); Woods and David Duval (USA, 2000).