Marc to let Smith off the ‘leish’ with World Cup nod

Thu 13 Sep 2018

Marc to let Smith off the ‘leish’ with World Cup nod

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Melbourne, Victoria, September 14: 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 ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf will be contested at The Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne from November 21 to 25, 2018. The 59th staging of the event will see the 56-player field vie for the largest prize-money 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 24th World Cup of Golf title.

Defending World Cup of Golf 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 defense in 2018.

Spots in the ISPS HANDA Melbourne 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 Number 11) unavailable due to the impending birth of a third child, Marc Leishman (Number 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 Number 33 ahead of Scott who exited the FedExCup Playoffs ranked Number 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 after coming off another successful season on the PGA TOUR that will be highlighted by his third trip to the TOUR Championship.

“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.”

Australia has won the World Cup of Golf five times, with Scott and Day the most recent winners in 2013 at Royal Melbourne with Leishman and Scott finishing tied for ninth at Kingston Heath in 2016.

The committed player list from each of the top 28 countries has been confirmed with each player having until 5 p.m. USA eastern time on Thursday, September 20 to choose his partner for the ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf. The field of 56 players will be final as of September 20.

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 Number 1 Martin Kaymer as well as World Golf Championships winner, Shane Lowry.

ISPA HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf

Committed Player list as at Friday September 14 2018

Rank

Country

Committed Player(s)

Australia

Marc Leishman / Cameron Smith

England

Tyrrell Hatton

United States

Kyle Stanley / Matt Kuchar

Thailand

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

South Africa

Branden Grace

Denmark

Thorbjorn Olesen

Japan

Satoshi Kodaira

Korea

Byeong Hun An

China

Haotong Li

Argentina

Emiliano Grillo

Canada

Adam Hadwin

Scotland

Russell Knox

Belgium

Thomas Pieters

Sweden

Alexander Bjork

New Zealand

Ryan Fox

Venezuela

Jhonattan Vegas

Spain

Adrian Otaegui

Ireland

Shane Lowry

France

Alexander Levy

Austria

Bernd Wiesberger

India

Shubhankar Sharma

Netherlands

Joost Luiten

Finland

Mikko Korhonen

Mexico

Abraham Ancer

Germany

Martin Kaymer

Italy

Andrea Pavin

Zimbabwe

Scott Vincent

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. In 2016, Danes Søren Kjeldsen and Thorbjørn Olesen shot a final-round 66 in foursomes at Kingston Heath to win Denmark’s first World Cup of Golf title by four strokes over the United States, China and France.

The ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf is one of five tournaments that are co-sanctioned by the International Federation of PGA Tours, joining the four events in the World Golf Championships series as tournaments which the Federation oversees. The International Federation of PGA Tours is an organization made up of all Tours from across the globe including the PGA TOUR, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, the ISPS HANDA PGA of Australasia, the Asian Tour and Sunshine Tour (South Africa PGA Tour).

Tickets are now on sale and ticket options range from Wednesday practice round tickets starting at $16.00, single-day competitive round tickets starting at $24.00 and tickets to the upgraded MacKenzie Club (Thurs-Sun) starting at $80.00. 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.

About the ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf

The 2018 ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf is a 72-hole, two-man team format, and affords the opportunity for the top players in the game to represent their countries on an international stage. The first and third days of competition are four-ball (best ball) format and the second and final days are foursomes (alternate shot) play. The 2018 event marks the sixth time in the tournament’s history that it has been played in Australia and the third consecutive in the Melbourne Sandbelt region. Widely regarded as one of the finest championship courses in Australia, The Metropolitan Golf Club consistently enjoys a reputation as one of the best-conditioned and most beautiful courses in the country. “Metro” has a rich tournament history including seven Men’s Australian Opens, five Australian PGA Championships, one Women’s Australian Open, one Australian Masters and the 2001 World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play. The 2018 event is set to be contested November 21-25, 2018.

About ISPS HANDA

ISPS, the International Sports Promotion Society, is a charitable organization that promotes sports, such as golf, polo and rowing, in a belief that sports and sporting platforms can help achieve world peace. It also supports blind golf as its founder and chairman Haruhisa Handa, dubbed the father of blind golf in Japan, is the first person in Japan to establish a blind golf club, which is now called the Japan Blind Golf Association. Dr Handa also serves as founder and chairman of the International Foundation for Arts and Culture, or IFAC, a nonprofit organization established to promote social welfare activities through music and art events. IFAC is title sponsor to the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, one of the most celebrated events in the arts calendar in Australia and internationally, which takes place between the end of March and the end of April every year.

About Melbourne

Melbourne is recognised as one of the event capitals of the world. It is the host city to many international events, including the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, Australian Open Tennis Championships, the Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix. In August, Melbourne was voted the world’s most liveable city for the seventh year running by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual lifestyle survey. The survey ranks all cities according to factors such as healthcare, education, environment and infrastructure. Melbourne is a thriving cultural capital, home to vibrant gastronomy, fashion and arts scenes.Melburnians are warm, welcoming and enthusiastic about their city, enjoying a lifestyle that embraces the great outdoors, all things coffee and food, and a vibrant music and arts scene.

About the International Federation of PGA Tours

The International Federation of PGA Tours was formed in 1996 by golf’s five world governing bodies – the European Tour, Japan Golf Tour Organization, PGA TOUR, ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour (South Africa PGA Tour) with the purpose of providing a forum for the world’s professional golf organizations to discuss issues of mutual importance and, together, develop and promote the game of golf on a global basis.  As part of its mission, the Federation initiated the World Golf Championships in 1999.  The Asian Tour joined the International Federation of PGA Tours in November 1999, while the Canadian Tour and the Tour de las Americas joined the Federation as associate members in 2000 and 2007, respectively.

In step with global growth of professional golf, the International Federation of PGA Tours announced an expansion and restructuring of its membership in 2009, adding the International Golf Association and additional professional golf tours, including – for the first time – women’s golf tours: China Golf Association; Korea Professional Golfers’ Association; Professional Golf Tour of India; LPGA Tour; Ladies European Tour; Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour; Japan LPGA; Korean LPGA; and Ladies Asian Golf Tour.