Cameron Smith (Pic By / ASIAN TOUR / KHALID REDZA)

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 21-25 November, 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 No. 11) unavailable due to the impending birth of a third child, Marc Leishman (No.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 No. 33 ahead of Scott who exited the FedExCup Playoffs ranked No. 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, 20 September to choose his partner for the ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf. The field of 56 players will be final as of 20 September.

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 No. 1 Martin Kaymer as well as World Golf Championships winner Shane Lowry.

ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf
Committed Player list as at 21 September 2018

*Bold denotes first World Cup of Golf appearance

 

Rank Country Top Player Partner
 1 Australia Marc Leishman Cameron Smith
 2 England Tyrrell Hatton Ian Poulter
 3 United States Kyle Stanley Matt Kuchar
 4 Thailand Kiradech Aphibarnrat Prom Meesawat
 5 South Africa Branden Grace Charl Schwartzel
 6 Denmark Thorbjorn Olesen Soren Kjeldsen
 7 Japan Satoshi Kodaira Hideto Tanihara
 8 Korea Byeong Hun An Si Woo Kim
 9 China Haotong Li Ashun Wu
 10 Canada Adam Hadwin Nick Taylor
 11 Scotland Russell Knox Martin Laird
 12 Belgium Thomas Pieters Thomas Detry
 13 Sweden Alexander Bjork Joakim Lagergren
 14 New Zealand Ryan Fox Danny Lee
 15 Venezuela Jhonattan Vegas Joseph Naffah
 16 Spain Adrian Otaegui Jorge Campillo
 17 Ireland Shane Lowry Paul Dunne
 18 France Alexander Levy Michael Lorenzo-Vera
 19 Austria Bernd Wiesberger Matthias Schwab 
 20 India Shubhankar Sharma Anirban Lahiri
 21 Netherlands Joost Luiten Daan Hizing
 22 Finland Mikko Korhonen Mikko Ilonen
 23 Mexico Abraham Ancer Roberto Diaz
 24 Germany Martin Kaymer Maximilian Kieffer
 25 Italy Andrea Pavan Renato Paratore
 26 Zimbabwe Scott Vincent Benjamin Follett-Smith
 27 Malaysia Gavin Kyle Green Ben Leong
*Argentina Emiliano Grillo (WD)

*Emiliano Grillo was a late withdrawal. The replacement country and players were not yet announced at press time.

 

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.

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