Home boys Scott and Day can lift World Cup
Aussies Adam Scott and Jason Day are hot 13/8 favourites with Coral to win the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne this week and it’s easy to see why.
Scott, ranked second in the world behind Tiger Woods, is on a fabulous roll at the moment, having won the Australian PGA and Masters in recent weeks and on course for a clean sweep of majors Down Under when he tees it up for the Australian Open in Sydney next week.
These are desperate times for Day, who lost eight family members when Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, but the world number 18 is determined to play on and we have seen before how personal tragedies can inspire those who need to honour their memories in the best way they know how.
This tournament has been won by some legendary American pairings in the past: Ben Hogan and Sam Snead are on the roll of honour, as are Jack Nicklaus/Arnold Palmer and Fred Couples/Davis Love III, who won it four times apiece. Tiger Woods is also a dual winner.
World number seven Matt Kuchar, who won the last World Cup with Gary Woodland, is now teamed up with Kevin Streelman and the US will again be fancying their chances – Coral make them 6/1 second favourites.
But though an emotional Scott predicted that he and Day would win it for Australia, this event is now, in terms of prize money anyway, more about the individual than the team; of the $8 million dollars on offer, just $1 million is set aside for the pairs.
Scott is 3/1 favourite to win the individual prize, ahead of Kuchar (6/1) and Day (8/1), but there’s perhaps more value in one of the Europeans, Victor Dubuisson (20/1), so impressive in the final fortnight of the Race To Dubai.
After holding off Tiger Woods and others in the Turkish Airlines Open for his first European Tour win, the Frenchman then followed up with a superb third place behind Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter in the Dubai finale last week and looks to have the temperament to go with the game.
The 7.000-yard Royal Melbourne is one of the finest courses in the world and that should be conducive to the cream rising to the top, so this could be a week where the big names shine and go home with the dollars.
Those countries who aren’t playing strong pairs – and that includes England (25/1), who field Chris Wood (ranked 71st in the world) and Danny Willett (114th) – may find it tough staying in the mix through to the end, although, as we know, golf can be full of surprises.