The 2018 Ryder Cup is still relatively fresh in the minds of golf fans and indeed of those players who took part. There is something special about being able to support a team in a golf event which is something the organisers of the World Cup of Golf understand. It’s been going since 1953 and in the 2018 renewal 28 nations will compete against each other.
Unlike some of the newer team events that have cropped onto the schedules, the format for the World Cup of Golf is a fairly simple one. It’s a 72 hole stroke play event with the first two days comprising of rounds of better ball, before alternate shot is used at the weekend. Keeping mistakes at bay is almost certain to be more important than securing birdies this week which could well hand an advantage to the American pairing of Kyle Stanley and Matt Kuchar.
The World Cup of Golf is a highly regarded and popular tournament. It is fitting that it should be held at such a prestigious venue as the Metropolitan. Set on the outskirts of Melbourne, the sandbelt course has played host to pretty much every important golf tournament in Australia. The list includes the Australian Open, Australian PGA Championship, Women’s Australian Open and the Australian Masters.
The Metropolitan has been compared to Augusta National by professional golfers who have played both courses. That is high praise indeed but justifiably so for arguably the best looking course in Australia. Like Augusta, the Metropolitan is also a very tough course which is demanding both off the tee and into the greens.
|Metropolitan Golf Club||South Oakleigh, Victoria||6,170 Yards||$7,000,000|
For the majority of the World Cup of Golf’s history the tournament has been held every year. It’s been a little more sporadic in recent years but the quality of the players competing has remained very high. Soren Kjeldsen and Thorbjorn Olesen were worthy winners two years ago whilst Jason Day and Adam Scott won on home turf in 2013.
Winning the World Cup is about more than having two high quality players though, it’s about that partnership working together. The size of the winning margins in recent years shows that partnerships who click together can stretch their legs and pull away from the field.
|Year||Winner||Course||To Par||Winning Margin|
|2016||Denmark||Kingston Heath Golf Club||-20||4 Strokes|
|2013||Australia||Royal Melbourne Golf Club||-17||10 Strokes|
|2011||United States||Mission Hills Golf Club||-24||2 Strokes|
|2009||Italy||Mission Hills Golf Club||-29||1 Stroke|
|2008||Sweden||Mission Hills Golf Club||-27||3 Strokes|
Analysis: Teamwork Vital at the Metro
The Metropolitan is the sort of course that requires absolute concentration. Just one mistake can have a potentially devastating impact on the scorecard, that threat is particularly real in the alternate shot format at the weekend. We’re sure to see the challenge of multiple teams fade away on Saturday and Sunday which is where the closest teams can really set out their stall.
Consistent American Pair Overpriced
It is no surprise that the Australian partnership of Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith are the favourites with the bookies to win the 2018 World Cup of Golf. They’ll have the support of the home galleries and both have secured some very good results of late. The English pair of Tyrrell Hatton and Ian Poulter will also get a lot of support in the betting having both played a role in Europe’s Ryder Cup win. However, it’s the American pair of Kyle Stanley and Matt Kuchar who represent the most tempting option in the betting at 8/1 with bet365.
Matt Kuchar is known by golf fans as something of a cash machine. His results are among the most consistent on the PGA Tour where top 10 finishes are almost the norm for him. The ever popular Kuchar also claimed his first PGA Tour win in over four years in the Mayakoba Golf Classic just two weeks ago.
Stanley is another who has utilised his accuracy off the tee and excellent ball striking into the greens to secure multiple PGA Tour wins. He is regularly towards the top of the pile in terms of strokes gained tee to green and fairways hit off the tee so should prove to be an excellent partner for Kuchar.
Having played the role of vice-captain for the American team at Le Golf National, Kuchar should be able to coach Stanley through any rough patches that the two encounter. Their style of play suggests they will have birdie chances and will be able to keep the poor holes at bay so back America to win an incredible 25th World Cup at 8/1 with bet365.
Netherlands the Value Each Way Play
Joost Luiten was understandably cautious about his return to professional golf after an extended period out following wrist surgery. He’s a multiple European Tour winner who has mixed it with the best golfers in the world so Luiten was concerned that surgery would take something away from his game. Fortunately, those fears have proven to be unfounded as he has played some very good golf on his return.
Luiten is the clear number one in Dutch golf but will be happy with his partner for the week, Daan Huizing. The 28-year-old turned pro after a very good amateur career and whilst he’s not yet had the success that many expected, there are better things around the corner for him. Both Luiten and Huizing have played well on courses similar to the Metropolitan in the past and could form a formidable duo at tempting odds of 80/1 with Betfair.
Final Verdict: USA to Win
There are some very strong teams in the 2018 World Cup of Golf but none look quite as well suited to the task ahead of them as the USA. Matt Kuchar and Kyle Stanley will find the required number of fairways and greens and should find their games compatible enough to avoid any big numbers at the weekend. Australia and England should be in the shake up but it’s the USA who look the value pick at 8/1 with bet365.
About the World Cup of Golf
The World Cup of Golf was founded by Canadian John Jay Hopkins, the founder of an aerospace and defence firm. In contrast to most tournaments, the World Cup is contested between teams of two who represent their countries. The first edition of the tournament, which was called the Canada Cup back then, took place in Montreal in 1953, with Argentina running out winners in the inaugural tournament. From 1967, the Canada Cup changed its name to the World Cup.
The international event has been played at various places all over the world, with America hosting the most with 11. England hosted the 1956 version, which was won by Ben Hogan and Sam Snead of team United States. In the tournament’s heyday, the World Cup of Golf was one of the most prestigious events on the golfing calendar.
During the period spanning 1955 to 1999, the International Trophy was awarded to the players with the best score over the tournament, but since 1999 there has there has been just the team award. (Other than in 2013 when an individual trophy was won by Australia’s Jason Day who beat Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn by two strokes.) Jack Nicklaus is the record International Trophy winner with three victories.
England Beat Spain in Seville
The British have not been too successful in the World Cup of Golf. In fact, between all the great British players over the years, the United Kingdom have won just five titles, with Ireland winning two. Wales became the first winners from the United Kingdom when the team of David Llewellyn and Ian Woosnam beat Scotland’s Sandy Lyle and Sam Torrance to first place in 1987. Wales won again in 2005 when Stephen Dodd and Bradley Dredge triumphed ahead of England’s Luke Donald and David Howell, and Sweden’s Niclas Fasth and Henrik Stenson.
England first tasted victory in 1998 in Auckland, New Zealand when David Carter and Nick Faldo beat Massimo Florioli and Costantino Rocca of Italy. Six years later, the English were on top of the world once again. Paul Casey and Luke Donald beat home stars Sergio Garcia and Manuel Angel Jimenez in Seville, Spain in 2004.
As for the Scots, they have picked up just one win in this tournament. Back in 2007, Colin Montgomerie and Marc Warren edged out the United States duo of Heath Slocum and Boo Weekley in Shenzhen, China.
Australia Win on Home Soil in 2013
The 2013, 2016 and 2018 editions of the tournament – which were the last three at the time of writing – took place in Melbourne, Australia. The Metropolitan Golf Club, which is regarded as one of the best courses Down Under, hosted the competition in 2018.
In 2013, Australia won the World Cup for the first time since 1989. It was a memorable tournament at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, with Jason Day and Adam Scott doing the business for their home fans. The Aussies have the second best World Cup record behind USA, winning five times and finishing runners-up on six occasions.
America’s Astonishing World Cup Record
United States of America are by far the most successful nation in World Cup history. No other country comes close to their tremendous record. The first two championships went to Argentina and Australia, but America’s dominance started in 1955, as they won eight of the opening 14 while it was the Canada Cup.
Team USA have won a total of 24 World Cups and finished runners-up 11 times. However, since 2000, America have finished on top of the pile on just one occasion. In 2011, Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland beat England and Germany to win their 24th crown.
USA’s World Cup Wins – 1955 to 2018
|1955||Washington DC, United States||Ed Furgol and Chick Harbert|
|1956||Surrey, England||Sam Snead and Ben Hogan|
|1960||Dublin, Ireland||Sam Snead and Arnold Palmer|
|1961||Dorado, Puerto Rico||Sam Snead and Jimmy Demaret|
|1962||Buenos Aires, Argentina||Sam Snead and Arnold Palmer|
|1963||Paris, France||Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer|
|1964||Hawaii, United States||Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer|
|1966||Tokyo, Japan||Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer|
|1967||Mexico City, Mexico||Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer|
|1969||Singapore||Orville Moody and Lee Trevino|
|1971||Florida, United States||Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino|
|1973||Marbella, Spain||Johnny Miller and Jack Nicklaus|
|1975||Bangkok, Thailand||Lou Graham and Johnny Miller|
|1978||Hawaii, United States||John Mahaffey and Andy North|
|1979||Athens, Greece||Hale Irwin and John Mahaffey|
|1983||Jakarta, Indonesia||Rex Caldwell and John Cook|
|1988||Melbourne, Australia||Ben Crawshaw and Mark McCumber|
|1992||Madrid, Spain||Fred Couples and Davis Love III|
|1993||Florida, United States||Fred Couples and Davis Love III|
|1994||Dorado, Puerto Rico||Fred Couples and Davis Love III|
|1995||Shenzhen, China||Fred Couples and Davis Love III|
|1999||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||Mark O’Meara and Tiger Woods|
|2000||Buenos Aires, Argentina||David Duval and Tiger Woods|
|2011||Hainan Island, China||Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland|
Love III & Couples Win Four in a Row
The World Cup is very much a team game, and the team of Fred Couples and Davis Love III was incredibly successful in the 1990s. USA won four World Cups in a row from 1992 to 1995, with the team of Love III and Couples being unstoppable. The pair of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer also prevailed for America on four occasions, and that duo of golfing legends really did excite the crowds.