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.
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.
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.
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 book is closed on another year of international professional golf. Once again, the world’s best golfers thrilled, inspired and amazed those of us who play the game for recreation and pleasure. Under immense pressure, they remained poised and produced incredible shots that dazzled galleries and television viewers, probably sending more than a few of us racing to the nearest driving range to try and replicate the feats we had just witnessed.
As 2017 winds to a close, it’s appropriate to reflect on some of our favorite golf shots and moments from the past 12 months. What makes our list unique is this: With assistance from PerryGolf and its experienced staff, you can walk many of these same fairways and greens next year on one of many Cruises, Escorted Tours or Custom Tours. Relish the opportunity to test your swing on holes which are forever etched in the history books due to phenomenal performances by the current crop of golf stars. Their talent transcends the game and makes them international ambassadors for the many virtues inherent to his wonderful game we love.
Jordan Spieth at Royal Birkdale
It wasn’t just that Spieth, 24, became the youngest American professional to win the Open Championship. Or that he played the final five holes in 5-under-par on Sunday after falling out of the lead for the first time all week. Or, after quite a lengthy delay and debate, he made an unbelievable bogey from the driving range on the 13th hole. It was all of those things and more – the near ace on 14, the 50-footer for Eagle on 15, the way Matt Kuchar answered Spieth’s birdies until the end – which made the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale an epic for the ages. Spieth claimed his third leg of the Grand Slam and 11th PGA Tour victory, making him the youngest player in history to accomplish such, showing indefatigable spirit and determination in his pursuit of the Claret Jug.
Best Player to Never Win a Major is an ambiguous description for a veteran professional golfer. On one side, it means a golfer has enjoyed a terrific career, winning regular events on major professional tours and routinely contending for golf’s four major trophies. On the flip side, a person considered ‘BPTNWAM’ can be perceived as afflicted with the inability to close the deal on Sunday afternoons. If you recall, a little more than a decade ago the American lefty Phil Mickelson wore this moniker like a scarlet letter. Five majors later, he’s considered one of the game’s all-time greats. Others, such as seven-time European Tour Order of Merit leader Colin Montgomerie, were never so fortunate and ended their career with a hole in their otherwise impeccable playing record.
Sergio Garcia started challenging for major championships in 1999 at the tender age of 19. And in many years since, he’d been thick in the hunt on Sunday but fallen short, typically slipping down the leaderboard when his putter went awry.
When he arrived at Augusta National in the first week of April 2017, Garcia had 12 top-5 finishes in majors and nearly 30 professional wins worldwide. When he departed on Sunday evening he had donned a Green Jacket, shed other labels and set a magical year in motion.
With the PGA Championship taking place at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, roughly four hours west the Southeastern North Carolina coast received a rare treat, serving as one-time host for the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship.
The tournament was played at Eagle Point Golf Club, a Tom Fazio layout in Wilmington, just down the road from PerryGolf headquarters. The course received glowing reviews from the pros throughout the week and delivered one of the more exciting finishes of the 2016-17 season.
Brian Harman, the diminutive lefthander from Georgia, thrilled a capacity crowd surrounding the 18th green by draining an improbable 28-foot birdie putt late Sunday afternoon to steal a one-shot victory over World No. 1 Dustin Johnson and streaking Pat Perez as rising star Jon Rahm watched from the fairway.
Harman’s second PGA Tour victory was worth $1.35 million and vaulted him to his best season as a professional. He finished runner-up to Brooks Koepka later in the summer at the U.S. Open and ended the season with seven top-10s, ranking 25th in the FedEx Cup standings.
Hatton blistered the storied links with a 24-under par total for 72 holes in a week during which records were made to be broken. For most of us mere mortals, the only way to shoot 61 at the Old Course is to end our round after 13 holes. Not for Ross Fisher, who toured all 18 in his 11-under round to set the new course record. Tommy Fleetwood also joined in the record-shattering fun, taking advantage of benign conditions to fire a brilliant course record 63 at the ultra-difficult Carnoustie.
Fleetwood claims the Race to Dubai
Speaking of Tommy Fleetwood, he captured the prestigious European Tour Race to Dubai, riding a pair of victories and top-five finishes at the WGC-Mexico event and U.S. Open to the lucrative prize.
Fleetwood claimed trophies at the French Open, played at Le Golf de National and the Abu Dhabi Championship en route to his best season as a professional.
The 26-year-old Englishman vaulted inside the top 20 of the Official World Golf Ranking and served notice that he’s likely to be a mainstay on major championship leaderboards and European Ryder Cup teams in the near future.
At the 2015 Scottish Golf Tourism Awards, a ‘Special Recognition Award’ was presented to former Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup captain Colin Dalgleish for his services to the Scottish golf tourism industry through his company, PerryGolf. Colin Montgomerie, Matt Kuchar and Patrick Elsmie were amongst those who paid tribute to the Helensburgh man. Watch their video messages in this article. Read more “PerryGolf’s Colin Dalgleish receives Special Recognition Award”