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Golf Australia Express : December 2013
Change was required. Now, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has thrown his support—and Tour intellect—behind the event. As far as money is concerned, it has a greater slant on the individual. This year, $7 million dollars was the purse for the individual stroke event where the long standing International Trophy was presented, and $1 million was divided among the top three placings in the team format. The field was restricted to 60 players and based off world rankings. This meant we no longer had to tolerate countries sending players who couldn’t break 90, and in turn strengthens the event and its credibility. It’s now an event with a small field, large prize purse and elevated world rankings—a no brainer for the best players to put the World Cup of Golf on their schedule biennially. Wherever the World Cup of Golf is played in 2015, I envision we’ll see the best players from the strongest countries making up the field. It will have a player-friendly date and we’ll see Adam Scott and Jason Day try and defend their title. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson on team USA. Justin Rose and Ian Poulter representing England. McIlroy and McDowell playing for Ireland. Could Ernie Els hang on to play with Schwartzel for South Africa? Henrik Stenson representing Sweden and Sergio Garcia flying the flag for Spain. And maybe, just maybe they could play in pairs on the last day and help each other with clubs and lines. That’s the World Cup of Golf I want to see. OTG GOLF needs a strong and well- supported World Cup. The only country that has anything close to it—the United States— has its own of sorts (on steroids) annually. One year it’s called the Ryder Cup and the next the Presidents Cup. But for every other major golf nation, the real World Cup has basically been ignored since the 1990s. It seems the only time a strong golf nation continually played its best team in the event was when the USA won four in a row in the ’90s with Fred Couples and Davis Love III in tow. But since then, most countries have had to scroll way down their list of players before finding any takers. It was obvious the World Cup of Golf as an event needed some changes made if it was to remain relevant. So you can imagine my dismay at hearing various sports commentators slamming the new World Cup model played at Royal Melbourne last month. Apart from Jason Day and Adam Scott winning the tournament, the crack field that fronted at RM— with five months notice, mind you—was an amazing performance by the organisers and a credit to the new Olympics-style format. The teams event that preceded 2013 was perceived by the top players as tired and cumbersome. Event promoters had ‘tricked up’ the play by staging rounds of best-ball, ambrose and alternate shot. For the players, that meant sacrificing a week of the year where they didn’t earn ranking points. It meant they were heavily dependent on their partner if they were to earn a cracker. Those things combined led to the world’s best players rarely supporting or playing in the World Cup of Golf. THE WORLD CUP OF GOLF IS FINALLY EN ROUTE TO BECOMING THE EVENT IT SHOULD BE, WRITES MARK ALLEN. TELL US YOUR THOUGHTS with Mark Allen MARCO'S MUSE OPINION the MAKING THE WORLD CUP WORK