Marc Leishman wants to be the highest-ranked Australian at the end of the year so he has his choice of partner at the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne; he just doesn’t know yet who he would choose.
The PGA of Australia announced on Wednesday that Leishman would be one of the headliners of their flagship Australian PGA Championship at RACV Royal Pines from November 29, the Victorian finishing tied for fourth in the 2017 staging behind champion Cameron Smith.
The PGA Championship is likely to be the final event in three successive weeks of world class golf in Australia with the Australian Open to be played prior to the World Cup of Golf that will be held at Metropolitan Golf Club the week before the Australian PGA.
World Cup teams are determined by the highest-ranked player from each country choosing their playing partner for the week, Leishman currently sitting two spots behind world No.14 Jason Day for status as top Aussie.
Adam Scott’s partner at Kingston Heath two years ago, Leishman would treasure the chance to represent his country again but with no NFL Fantasy or AFL Supercoach experience, Leishman is unsure how he would fare in the role of selector.
“That’s a hard one, you would have to go on form I would think,” said Leishman.
“Yes, I’m a numbers guy so you probably go for the next in line but if someone’s been hot and had a really good (FedEx Cup) Playoffs or one of us has won a Major… It would be hard not to choose someone who has won a Major that year.
“That’s a tough one; I don’t know how you would choose it. Hopefully I’ll be worrying about that in a few months’ time.”
November’s hosting will be the third time that the World Cup has been played in Melbourne in the space of six years, Adam Scott and Jason Day combining to win the 2013 tournament at Royal Melbourne.
Cameron Smith has now overtaken fellow Queenslander Scott as the third-highest ranked Australian on the world golf rankings and Leishman is hopeful that it will be a difficult choice for whoever heads the list of Aussies come November.
“There is so much golf to be played between now and then and it would be great to go there with either of those guys (Day or Scott) and Cam Smith is making a pretty good case for his selection as well,” said Leishman, the 2017 Australian Golf Digest Player of the Year and Greg Norman Medal winner.
“It would be great if we could all play well and make it a tough decision for whoever it is that has to choose.”
Given that the Presidents Cup will be staged at Royal Melbourne in 2019 and the Internationals’ only victory came at Royal Melbourne in 1998, Leishman is hopeful that those players eligible for the International team will play in November’s World Cup.
Japanese pair Hideki Matsuyama and Satoshi Kodaira make a formidable pairing, as do South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace, while the likes of Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Siwoo Kim and Haotong Li would all benefit from a week on the sandbelt if they hope to play on Ernie Els’s team.
“Going to the World Cup would be a priority for most of the guys. I think Ernie would be all for that,” Leishman said.
“You can only get sandbelt experience on the sandbelt. Augusta (National) is somewhat similar in terms of the greens but the grasses are completely different on the fairways. You can only learn those shots on the sandbelt so I feel like it would be really, really beneficial.
“The good thing with that is that we could potentially have six or eight guys who could be in the team at the World Cup and the Americans are only going to have two. I think it would be really beneficial and I’d be all for all of the guys going down there.”