While the 2018 portion of the current U.S. PGA Tour season concluded last week on frosty Sea Island, Ga., there’s still professional action on the schedule in the final weeks of the year.
The ISPS Handa Melbourne World Cup of Golf begins Wednesday Night in South Victoria, Australia. Golf Channel is televising the entire 72-hole stroke play event which features 28 two-man teams representing countries from around the world. The first round coverage is from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time. Rainy weather is in the forecast for the first two rounds, which feature a round each of fourball and foursomes.
It’s been a fantastic Pro-Am here at the @MetropolitanGC. We can’t wait for the ISPS Handa Melbourne @WorldCupofGolf to tee off tomorrow! #WorldCupOfGolf pic.twitter.com/hK8b2MOLLt
— ISPS Handa (@ISPSHanda) November 21, 2018
Host country representatives Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith enter the tournament on form and heading the short list of favorites. Leishman won the CIMB Classic on the PGA Tour last month while Smith tied for seventh at the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges and is ranked No. 33 in the world.
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The English pairing of Tyrell Hatton and Ian Poulter will also be a formidable duo, as will American representatives Matt Kuchar (who won with Gary Woodland in 2011) and partner Kyle Stanley. The U.S. has 24 World Cup victories while Australia and South Africa are next with five apiece.
The Metropolitan Golf Club was designed by J.B. MacKenzie in the early 20th century, saw modifications from Dr. Alister MacKenzie in 1926 and underwent a back nine renovation by American architect Dick Wilson in 1959. The course is consistently ranked top 15 in Australia and is yet another gem in the Melbourne Sandbelt, which also offers Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath, Victoria, among others.
The par-3, No. 11, measures only 154 yards for the participants in the World Cup, however the well-bunkered undulating green is certain to puzzle even the most polished professional.
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Greens mown sharply into bunker edges is a distinguishing characteristic at Metropolitan and a prevalent feature throughout the Sandbelt, which is a favorite golfing destination of the American star Rickie Fowler, among others.
The affable Leishman, ranked 21st in the world, shares a strong affection for the strongest golfing region of his home country.
“It’s one of the best golfing destinations in the world. You hear of Bandon Dunes, or trips around Scotland, or Pinehurst and places like that but Melbourne rivals them all. In terms of a golfing holiday, you couldn’t get much better, particularly at that time of year if you’re an American fan. Get out of the American winter and get into the Aussie summer and enjoy yourself.” – Marc Leishman
The Presidents Cup will be held at Royal Melbourne in December 2019, with the International squad aiming to break the Americans stranglehold on the biennial matches. Ben Everill, a staff writer at PGATour.com and an Australian, makes a compelling case on why Americans – or any other golf loving travelers – would be wise to plan a trip to Melbourne on a golf holiday. From penguin parades to fantastic dining, coupled with beautiful scenery and friendly, engaging citizens, it’s a wise choice indeed.