By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
This week’s ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf will be held at one of the world’s finest courses – the Alister Mackenzie-designed Royal Melbourne Golf Club – and use a format that will mirror the one that will be used in the 2016 Olympics. Using stroke play – a team’s score will be the combined score of its two participants – also allows players to compete for an individual prize and Official World Golf Ranking points.
A strong field has assembled at Royal Melbourne. Here’s a look at some of the groups to keep an eye on (Note: all times local):
Adam Scott (Australia)-Matt Kuchar (USA)-Matteo Manassero (Italy): Adam Scott, the local favorite, plays alongside a representative from each of the past two World Cup champions. Matt Kuchar teamed with Gary Woodland to win in 2011, while the Molinari brothers, Edoardo and Francesco, won the title in 2009. Manassero is representing Italy this week alongside Francesco Molinari. This group also features the top two finishers from last week’s Talisker Masters, also held at Royal Melbourne. Scott won that title by two shots over Kuchar; it was Scott’s second consecutive win after also winning the previous week’s Australian PGA Championship.
Jason Day (Australia)-Graeme McDowell (Ireland)-Jonas Blixt (Sweden): Australia’s other representative, Jason Day, will play alongside the McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion, and Blixt, who has won twice on the PGA TOUR in the past 13 months.
Kevin Streelman (USA)-Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spain)-Francesco Molinari (Italy): The past two World Cup champions are represented in this group. The United States won in 2011, while Italy won in 2009. All three members of this group are in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking, as well.
Ryo Ishikawa (Japan)-George Coetzee (South Africa)-Vijay Singh (Fiji): Ishikawa and Singh got off to strong starts in the fall portion of the 2013-14 schedule. Ishikawa is 17th in the FedExCup standings after making the cut in all three of his starts, including a runner-up at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Singh is 10th in the FedExCup after finishing runner-up at the Frys.com Open; he’s coming off a third-place finish at last week’s Talisker Masters at Royal Melbourne.
Victor Dubuisson (France)-K.J. Choi (Korea)-Hideto Tanihara (Japan): Dubuisson is one of the hottest players in the field, finishing in the top three in his past two starts on the European Tour; he won his first title at the Turkish Airlines Open and finished third at last week’s DP World Tour Championship-Dubai, the European Tour’s season finale. Tanihara won last week’s Taiheiyo Masters in Japan, finishing one shot ahead of teammate Ryo Ishikawa.
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