The World Cup of Golf is being played this week in Australia. The event returns to a 72-hole, stroke-play competition, with both a team and individual component.
Here are a few of the threesomes to watch this week at Royal Melbourne, which is hosting its second consecutive event:
Technically, this isn’t part of the Aussie Slam, but Scott is vying for his third consecutive victory in his home country, after triumphs at both the Australian PGA and Australian Masters. The latter tournament was played here last week at Royal Melbourne. Kuchar finished second to Scott last week, but only after a sloppy finish that included a bogey on 16 and double bogey on the home hole. Kuchar teamed up with Gary Woodland to win this event in 2011, when it was played in China.
Singh finished four shots behind Scott at the Aussie Masters, where he was undone by six bogeys in the final round. Coetzee has just one top-15 finish in his last 10 worldwide starts, but it came two weeks ago at the Turkish Airlines Open (T-12). Ishikawa, still just 22, seems to be rounding into form. He has a pair of T-2 finishes in his last four starts, including in his most recent appearance, at the Taiheiyo Masters.
Streelman hasn’t been the same player since he tied for second at the Players. In 14 starts since, he has failed to record a top-10 finish. Jimenez has been slightly better, and he’s coming off a T-8 finish in Dubai. “The Mechanic,” who turns 50 in January, is still ranked inside the top 50 in the world. Molinari is part of a tough Italian team that should factor in both competitions – he hasn’t finished worse than 25th in his last six starts.
This week everyone will be rooting for Day, who is playing just a few days after learning that eight of his relatives, including his grandmother, died in the super typhoon in the Philippines. He hasn’t played since a T-14 at the Tour Championship in September, but he should receive a boost in the team competition with the red-hot Scott. McDowell is playing for Team Ireland this week, a notable distinction with the Olympics looming. At the World Cup, England, Scotland and Wales compete as separate countries and, traditionally, Ireland and Northern Ireland combine to compete as Ireland. Not so at the Olympics, where England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will compete as Great Britain. The situation is more clear-cut for Blixt, of course, who this week is teaming with Peter Hanson to comprise one of the most formidable teams. The Greenbrier winner was 12th last week in Dubai.