World Cup again features eclectic, talented lineup
Perhaps it won’t appeal to those who live for competition that only involves marquee names, but the upcoming World Cup will be its usual eclectic self. Thirty-three countries will be represented, with 60 golfers coming from six continents.
Though only 14 players ranked in the world’s top 50 will tee it up, the competition will have the added presence of a remarkable stage, Royal Melbourne, and that alone will make many want to watch.
This competition was always about the team race, but no longer. To fall more in line with how the golf will look – for better or worse – at the 2016 Summer Olympics, the 60 golfers will play a 72-hole, stroke-play competition, with serious world-ranking points and $7 million up for grabs. The team portion will have a $1 million purse.
In all, 27 teams are entered, with Australia (Adam Scott and Jason Day) the only one to feature two players ranked inside the top 30. (As of Oct. 31, the cutoff, Scott was No. 2, Day No. 16.) America will be represented by No. 8 Matt Kuchar and No. 37 Kevin Streelman, Ireland by No. 11 Graeme McDowell and No. 84 Shane Lowry, Italy by Nos. 31 and 47 Matteo Manassero and Francesco Molinari, and South Africa by No. 36 Branden Grace and No. 83 George Coetzee.
Elsewhere, the range of entries goes from the somewhat familiar (Spain will be represented by Miguel Angel Jimenez and Rafael Cabrera-Bello; England, Chris Wood and David Lynn; Sweden, Jonas Blixt and Peter Hanson; Denmark, Thomas Bjorn and Thorbjorn Olesen; South Korea, K.J. Choi and Sang-Moon Bae; Japan, Ryo Ishikawa and Hideto Tanihara), to the intriguing (Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Prayad Marksaeng for Thailand), to the unheralded (Felipe Aguilar and Mark Tullo of Chile).
The 27 teams will account for 54 of the 60 players in the field and six more will be play not for national honor but individual pride – Vijay Singh of Fiji, Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe, Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium, Bernd Wiesberger of Austria, Espen Kofstad of Norway, and Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh.