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Presidents Cup: Let the battle begin - Australian Golf Digest Presidents Cup: Let the battle begin - Australian Golf Digest

Which Melbourne course will host the 2028 Presidents Cup? We take a look at the contenders.

The PGA Tour’s announcement in April that the Presidents Cup will be returning to Melbourne in 2028 and 2040 has lit the fuse for a Sandbelt showdown of a different kind: which course will get the honours?

As first reported by Australian Golf Digest in February, the 2028 Presidents Cup will mark the event’s fourth visit to Melbourne, matching Gainesville (Virginia, USA) for most Cups contested in one city. With a decision on the 2028 venue looming – possibly to be revealed as early as September during the 2022 edition at Quail Hollow – perennial Cup favourite Royal Melbourne Golf Club is far from a lock, according to sources. 

Speculation has been rife on social media that Australia’s No.1-ranked course was all but guaranteed a fourth showing after holding successful events in 1998, 2011 and 2019. However, Kingston Heath, Peninsula Kingswood and Victoria golf clubs are all understood to be keen on welcoming
the world’s best players to their respective fairways. 

Suffice to say, suggesting the PGA Tour is spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a winner here is a huge understatement, and its commissioner Jay Monahan knows it.

“Since the Presidents Cup was first staged in Melbourne in 1998, Australia and its passionate fanbase have played a leading role in the growth of the Presidents Cup,” Monahan says. 

“As the event continues to visit new corners of the globe, we remain committed to a presence in Melbourne and the Sandbelt region, a place our players and fans around the world hold in high regard. Our partnership with state of Victoria and Visit Victoria has been a winning combination, and we’re thrilled with the support we’ve received from Premier Daniel Andrews in securing the 2028 and 2040 dates.”

Australia was the Presidents Cup’s first international destination, which has since visited South Africa (2003), Canada (2007) and Korea (2015) in addition to twice returning Down Under.

“Securing two more Presidents Cups is a real coup for Melbourne, promoting our city to the world and providing a boost for tourism and jobs,” says Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakula.

Added Visit Victoria chief executive officer Brendan McClements: “We’re delighted that the Presidents Cup will be back in 2028 and 2040, cementing Melbourne’s position as a global events destination and the major events capital of Australia.”

With the battle for 2028 hosting rights heating up, we take a look at the realistic contenders, and their chances 

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ROYAL MELBOURNE •MOST LIKELY•

WHY IT WILL: The undisputed queen of the Sandbelt is coming off yet another No.1 ranking in Australian Golf Digest’s Top 100 Courses and is a proven Presidents Cup winner with players and spectators alike. “You don’t need a golf course to be 7,500 yards to be hard; you can build it just like this and have it nice and tricky,” says Tiger Woods of his love for the place. Will tournament organisers once again be thinking, If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it? 

WHY IT WON’T: It’s time to mix things up a little. That’s the only reason, fullstop. Will the Victorian Government be pushing hard to showcase another iconic layout to the rest of the world? There is, after all, so much more to Australian golf than Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

WHAT THE CLUB SAYS: “We would certainly welcome another opportunity to work with the Victorian Government and PGA Tour as a potential host of the Presidents Cup. Royal Melbourne has a long and proud history of hosting this incredible event. We’re absolutely thrilled that it’s returning to the city of Melbourne for more editions in the near future.” – Damon Lonnie, general manager

KINGSTON HEATH •BIG CHANCE•

WHY IT WILL: A favourite among tour pros for its incredible collection of short holes and demanding approach shots, Kingston Heath is the second-best course in the country and crying out for a world-class event after losing the 2020 Australian Open, which was cancelled due to the pandemic.

WHY IT WON’T: It’s like explaining why Stuart MacGill didn’t play more Test cricket for Australia – the country’s greatest of all time was always ahead of him. That’s how Kingston Heath must feel about Royal Melbourne. But even the late, great Shane Warne had a spell or two… 

WHAT THE CLUB SAYS: “It is no secret that multiple clubs are being considered to host this prestigious and unique event, including Kingston Heath. The Heath has a long and proud history of hosting major events and we would be thrilled to host the 2028 Presidents Cup. We have been in contact with the PGA Tour and the assessment process has begun. We are confident that we can host a world-class event and meet the requirements for hosting an event of this scale.” – Andrew Taylor, general manager  

PENINSULA KINGSWOOD •GOOD CHANCE•

WHY IT WILL: After an incredible makeover by Ogilvy Clayton Cocking Mead that has produced not one but two top-20 courses in Australia on a piece of land that rivals anything in the country, it makes sense to unveil such a facility on the biggest stage of all. Both the North and South courses are mint, as are the rest of the facilities at PK, all constructed with one long-term vision in focus: to attract world-class tournaments. Is this its moment?

WHY IT WON’T: It’s a little further down the highway but the only real excuse is the ‘unknown’ factor that comes with being a potential first-time host. If it purely comes down to infrastructure and quality of the courses, it’s hard not to see PK being in the same conversation as RM.

WHAT THE CLUB SAYS: “PK is very excited to be one of the clubs that the PGA Tour is exploring to host the 2028 President Cup. We feel our courses and facilities are perfect for such a big event, with multiple options for the tour to consider. We are excited to have officials onsite at PK in the coming weeks and months.” – Heath Wilson, chief executive officer

VICTORIA •OUTSIDE CHANCE•

WHY IT WILL: Buoyed by the news it will be the primary host of both the 2022 men’s and women’s Australian Opens, Victoria Golf Club once again finds itself in the spotlight for its capacity to host major tournament golf. The No.9-ranked course in the land has everything you need for Presidents Cup drama – plenty of short, risk-reward holes all complemented by lightning-quick Pure Distinction greens. 

WHY IT WON’T: An inside source has told us Victoria isn’t one of the three courses left in the running and would need an incredible late case put forward to knock off the aforementioned clubs.

WHAT THE CLUB SAYS: “We would be proud and honoured to be considered by the PGA Tour as a possible candidate to host such a prestigious event. We would equally also be fully supportive of the successful host club and offer any and all assistance to ensure the event is a success as a major showcase for golf in Melbourne, Victoria and Australia on the world stage.” – Antonie Els, general manager 

[COURSE IMAGES: Gary Lisbon]