World Cup of Golf returns to Melbourne

Melbourne, May 12 (IANS) The 2013 World Cup of Golf will return to the Royal Melbourne Golf Club here and will be played Nov 21-24.

The Royal Melbourne Golf Club, which hosted the Presidents Cup 2011, will host back-to-back events in November. The World Cup will be preceded by the Australian Masters, which boasts Adam Scott as the defending champion.

The World Cup has been played three previous times in Australia, each time at the same course. The event was last played in Australia in 1988 as part of the nation’s bicentennial celebrations when the United States team of Ben Crenshaw and Mark McCumber won the tournament.

The event boasts an $8 million purse and returns to an individual, stroke-play competition for $7 million, with a team component for $1 million.

The qualification system for the event is similar to that which will be used in the Olympics, when golf returns to the programme in 2016. The field will include 60 players (no cut), with eligibility taken from the official World Golf Rankings.

Up to four players can qualify per country if they are in the top 15 of the rankings. Beyond No.15, up to a maximum of two players per country can qualify. If two or more players from a country qualify, then the country is eligible for team competition with the top-two players comprising the qualified team.

The major difference between the World Cup qualification model and that of the Olympics is that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will each be considered a separate country (for the purpose of the Olympics, those four countries compete as Great Britain). Further, Olympics will not feature a team component and ranking points will be awarded for the individual portion of the competition.

The tournament was founded by the International Golf Association in association with industrialist John Jay Hopkins for the purpose of promoting international goodwill through golf. It began in 1953 as the Canada Cup and was renamed World Cup in 1967.

The World Cup was staged as part of the World Golf Championships series from 2000 to 2006. In 2010, it was announced that the event would change from annual to biennial, held in odd-numbered years, to accommodate the 2016 inclusion of golf in Olympics.

The United States has a clear lead in team wins with 24. Australia holds four World Cup titles, the last coming in 1989.

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