World Cup of Golf returns to Melbourne

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The major golf drought in Melbourne has lasted just one summer with the World Cup of Golf returning to the sand belt in 2018.

Metropolitan Golf Club will host the world’s best players competing for $9.2 million in prizemoney just two years after the World Cup was won by Denmark at Kingston Heath in 2016.

Masters champ Adam Scott and Marc Leishman represented Australia last year and Victorian Leishman, currently 13th in the world after his best-ever season in the US, said lock him in for a return trip home next year, if he makes the team.

“I had a great time last year and if I am in the team I will be there for sure,” Leishman said.

“I love the golf course, I think it’s probably the best conditioned golf course in the world. Those fairways are just unbelievable. And it’s a really, really fun golf course.

“I think the players who come out will be very impressed. It will be a pretty good spectacle for Melbourne.”

World number one Dustin Johnson will be at the top of the wish list for World Cup officials as the top ranked player from the top 28 countries on the official world golf rankings is an automatic selection to compete, pending availability.

That top ranked player then gets to choose his playing partner for the two-man event which will be played on November 21-25 at Metropolitan which has fairways so good Leishman said he “laid down on them like a bed” when he first visited as a spectator.

Last year 17 of the world’s top 50 players turned out at Kingston Heath including US star Rickie Fowler who on Monday carded a staggering 11-under par final round of 61 to win the Hero World Challenge in Tiger Wood’s comeback event in the Bahamas.

News of the World Cup’s return comes swiftly after confirmation the Australian Open will also be played in Melbourne in 2020 and 2022, and the star-studded Presidents Cup will again be staged at Royal Melbourne in 2019.

“Golf in the Sandbelt region speaks for itself, and we appreciate Metropolitan Golf Club opening its doors for this historic team event,” PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan said.

It’s also the third consecutive time the World Cup has been played in Melbourne. Scott and Jason Day won at Royal Melbourne in 2013, before the event was re-imagined and staged again in 2016.

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