Australia’s Marc Leishman will partner with debutant Cameron Smith when Australia takes on the world at the ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf this November.
The 2018 edition will be contested at The Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne from November 21-25, 2018. The 59th staging of the event will see the 56-player field vie for the largest prizemoney purse in Australian golf, with $US7 million on offer.
One other partnership was also made official, with two-time PGA Tour winner Kyle Stanley, the committed player from the United States, selecting seven-time PGA Tour champion Matt Kuchar. Kuchar was a member of the victorious United States team in the 2011 World Cup of Golf, when he paired with Gary Woodland to win their country’s 24thWorld Cup of Golf title.
Defending champions Denmark return, with Thorbjørn Olesen a committed starter. Olesen partnered with Soren Kjeldsen to capture a four-shot win in 2016 and has until next Thursday to confirm his playing partner for a title defence in 2018.
Spots in the World Cup of Golf field go to the highest ranked available players from the top 28 nations and with Australia’s ranking leader Jason Day (world No.11) unavailable due to the impending birth of a third child, Marc Leishman (No.22) takes up the captains’ spot.
The lure of a World Cup position sparked a down-to-the-wire battle between former World Cup of Golf champion Adam Scott and Smith, whose late season surge made for a tough choice for Leishman, who said he’d wait till the final deadline to see who came out on top of the rankings. Smith’s three-week surge ending at world No.33 ahead of Scott who exited the FedExCup Playoffs ranked No.41 in the world.
And in true captains’ style, Leishman called Smith and 2016 teammate Scott personally to deliver the news.
“I told Cam he’s in this morning and Scotty he’s not, tough call,” Leishman said.
Smith, 24, has been in red-hot form in the past month and will lead the Australian charge along with Leishman and Day at the season ending Tour Championship in Atlanta next week after a late-season charge that will see the Queenslander make his debut in the final chase for the FedExCup.
“It’s been one of my biggest goals all year to play my way onto the team and represent Australia in the World Cup,” Smith said. “I’m looking forward to playing with Marc and hope we can bring home our country’s sixth title.”
Smith, who captured a debut PGA Tour win at the Zurich Classic last year and tied for fifth at the Masters in April this year, has rocketed up the world rankings following two third-place finishes in the opening two playoff events and enters the finale in 10th spot in the 30-man Tour Championship field.
Leishman will make his second appearance in the unique team event.
“I’m extremely excited and honored to be representing Australia in this year’s World Cup of Golf,” Leishman said. “Having the opportunity to play in Australia is always a treat but to represent Australia against some of the best players from around the globe is truly special. Playing in the World Cup in 2016 was an incredible experience in Melbourne and I can’t wait to get back to play in this year’s event at Metro.”
The committed player list from each of the top 28 countries has been confirmed with each player having until 5pm USA eastern time on Thursday, September 20 to choose his partner for Melbourne.
Leishman and South Africa’s Branden Grace are among a group of five players who competed on the International Team at the 2017 Presidents Cup. Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo, Canada’s Adam Hadwin and Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas round out the list.
Other notable committed players include two-time Major champion and former world No.1 Martin Kaymer as well as World Golf Championships winner Shane Lowry.
ISPA HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf
Committed Player list as of Friday, September 14 2018
|1.||Australia||Marc Leishman / Cameron Smith|
|3.||United States||Kyle Stanley / Matt Kuchar|
|5.||South Africa||Branden Grace|
|8.||Korea||Byeong Hun An|
|15.||New Zealand||Ryan Fox|
|28.||Malaysia||Gavin Kyle Green|
Zimbabwe and Malaysia have been elevated into the field after Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann elected not to commit and their next highest-ranked players being lower in the rankings than Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent and Malaysia’s Gavin Kyle Green.
The 72-hole stroke play team format will feature Four-ball (best ball) play in the first and third rounds and Foursomes (alternate shot) play in the second and final rounds.
Tickets are now on sale and ticket options range from Wednesday practice round tickets starting at $16, single-day competitive round tickets starting at $24 and tickets to the upgraded MacKenzie Club (Thurs-Sun) starting at $80. Weekly tickets are also available for $96, with a MacKenzie Club option priced at $295. Fans are encouraged to secure their tickets early in order to save.
Three and five-night Melbourne World Cup of Golf tournament travel packages are also available, including accommodation, tickets, souvenir merchandise and coaches to transport you to the event in comfort and style. Fans can also extend their stay in Melbourne and explore further afield with the flexibility to drive, chip and putt to their heart’s content.
Ticket buyers are reminded that youth under the age of 16 are admitted to the event free of charge when accompanied by a ticketed adult. To purchase tickets or find more information on ticket options, fans can log on to www.WorldCupofGolf.com.