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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 305
WORLD CUP COULD LEAD CHANGE L ast week, Golf Australia columnist John Huggan produced one of the Twitter zingers of the year. Bryson DeChambeau, clearly emotional after his Captain’s pick for the upcoming Ryder Cup, sent out the following tweet: “Nothing means more than playing for my country. I could not be more honored to be a part of @RyderCupUSA” Barely a few minutes passed before Huggan responded, brilliantly: “Admirable sentiments. See you at the World Cup in Melbourne come November.” Like most truly great comedy, it was not only funny but pointed as well. DeChambeau, of course, won’t be at Metropolitan two months from now. In fact, none of the world’s top-20 ranked players will be taking the opportunity to represent their country when the event tees off on November 21. Marc Leishman, 22nd in the Official World Golf Rankings, will be the highest ranked player of the 56 taking part; a sad indictment on what should be one of golf’s great events. 2018 marks the 59th playing of the World Cup of Golf but the apathy of the game’s top exponents, despite the rare opportunity to sport their nation’s colours, is telling. The US, England, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Australia and Japan will all be without their best player. In the case of the Americans their top 13 all said no, leaving Kyle Stanley, the 27th ranked player in the world, as their first pick. That said, the World Cup will be a fantastic event and any golf fan who has the chance to go and doesn’t take it is doing themselves a disservice. Every player in the field is worth the money to watch up close. But it begs the question: what can be done to reinvigorate what should be one of the game’s great showcases? A humble little tournament that started just six years ago not far from where this year’s World Cup will be held might just be the answer. When the first combined Vic Open was hosted at Spring Valley Golf Club in 2012 nobody knew whether holding the men’s and women’s events concurrently would work. Six short years later it is now a co-sanctioned European Tour event and one of the most popular and successful tournaments in the world. Imagine if that same ‘out of the box’ thinking could be applied to the World Cup? We are surely far beyond the time when it should be considered ‘unusual’ for the game’s best men and women to share the same stage? In tennis (which I readily admit to knowing almost nothing about except that they can create a rules snafu the equal of anything in golf) the year’s four majors are a wonderful celebration of the sport as the best from both genders show off their talents. In golf, at the highest echelons of the game, this NEVER happens. Think about that for a moment. NEVER. We, the fans, have no opportunity to watch both Dustin Johnson and Brooke Henderson on the same day and course. It’s madness. And the World Cup is just one way it might be remedied. Imagine a scenario where Lexi Thompson and Jordan Spieth represent the USA while Minjee Lee and Jason Day play for Australia? Lydia Ko and Ryan Fox would be a formidable and entertaining combination for New Zealand, as would the Thai duo of Ariya Jutanugarn and Kiradech Aphibarnrat. Formats, venues and dates will all be thrown up as obstacles to it ever happening but if humans are capable of flying into space and back there’s no reason we can’t manage this. The idea is big and simple. The logistics are many and complicated. The pay-off for golf however, will be worth it. VIEW THE ROD MORRI is an award-winning writer and podcast presenter. He hosts The iseekgolf.com Podcast weekly. CLICK here to listen. Much has changed with the World Cup since the days of Arnold Palmer & Jack Nicklaus winning.
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