There are not too many tournaments in the long golfing schedule which are genuinely unique but there is nothing else quite like the upcoming World Cup of Golf. 28 countries will be represented in Melbourne, Australia this week by two of their best golfers. The team format sees two rounds of fourballs and two of foursomes completed with the lowest score winning the lion’s share of the impressive $8 million prize purse.
It looked for a while as though the World Cup of Golf had been consigned to history. After Australia won the 2013 renewal on home territory the tournament left the golfing schedule for a couple of years but it is back and the Aussie’s are once again expected to flourish in front of their home fans.
Home Comforts Make Australia Favourites
Certainly the Australian pairing of Adam Scott and Marc Leishman are feared by the bookies. They’ve been promptly installed as the favourites for the tournament across the board. It’s not hard to see why.
Nobody in the field will have more experience of this week’s host course, Kingston Heath Golf Club. Leishman has played in multiple tournaments at the Melbourne venue while it was the scene of Scott’s 2012 Australian Masters victory. Both players know exactly what they’ll be faced with at ‘The Heath’. The hazards, the tricky landing zones, the gusty winds – they’ve coped with them all before. Jetlag won’t be a problem for them either as Scott competed at last week’s Australian Open while Leishman took the week off. At best odds of 5/1 with Ladbrokes, the Australian pair are very much the ones to catch.
The Irish Can Utilise Their Strength in the Wind
Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry were both very disappointed to miss out on a place at this summer’s Ryder Cup. While GMac hadn’t really shown enough to warrant a pick, Lowry would have made the team if he was able to hang on to his 54 hole lead at the US Open.
There are regrets for both players over the last season but now is the time to put those firmly behind them. On paper at least, the Irish partnership appear to have the skills necessary to cope with the challenge of Kingston Heath. They both grew up playing golf in the wind in Ireland while McDowell’s US Open win came at Pebble Beach, another exposed course. They’re also both good drivers of the ball, a skill which will be key this week. If they can dovetail well together and work well on the greens, Irish eyes could be smiling on Sunday so back them each way at 14/1 with Betfred.
Thailand’s Odd Couple Could Just Click
There is little about Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat that ties the two together other than the fact they are the two best golfers that Thailand has ever produced. Jaidee has forged an incredible career out of hitting incredibly controlled shots whereas Aphibarnrat prefers to smash the ball miles off the tee and see where it ends up. If they get their game plan down to a tee, the contrasting styles may just work at odds of 25/1 with Betfred.