World Cup field begins to take shape
BY Bruce Young | 20 Aug 2013
Melbourne, Victoria, AUS – Commitments from a selection of golf’s biggest international stars have begun with Matt Kuchar (USA), Matteo Manassero (Italy) and Thongchai Jaidee (Thailand) announcing their intentions to represent their respective countries at the World Cup of Golf at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club on November 18-24.
Along with Gary Woodland, Matt Kuchar was part of the team which won the World Cup when it was last held in 2011 at the Mission Hills Resort, in Hainan Island, China. Kuchar, who won the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship as well as The Memorial Tournament this year on the PGA TOUR, was also part of the winning 2011 U.S. Presidents Cup team when it was held at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
Since the start of the 2010 season, Kuchar has 36 top-10 finishes on the PGA TOUR, more than any other PGA TOUR player during those four PGA TOUR seasons. The No. 6-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking has six career victories and is one of four players with multiple wins on the PGA TOUR in 2013, joining Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker.
“Representing my country is a real honour whether in The Ryder Cup, The Presidents Cup or the World Cup. It was a great experience to win the World Cup in 2011 with Gary Woodland and I am looking forward to “defending” at Royal Melbourne.”
Manassero will join Kuchar in Australia with hopes of bringing the championship trophy back to Italy after the Molinari brothers won the event in 2009. Manassero’s accomplishments have already reached world-class level considering he is No. 28 on the Official World Golf Ranking, No. 5 in The European Tour’s Race to Dubai standings and has four career European Tour victories. When you add the fact that Manassero has still yet to celebrate his 21st birthday, you realize why so many are predicting big things in the young man’s future.
Manassero’s victory in May at the BMW PGA Championship made him the youngest ever winner of The European Tour’s flagship event. Manassero posted an impressive 69 in the final round to tie with Simon Khan, before winning on the fourth playoff-hole. In 2010, he became the youngest winner in European Tour history thanks to his victory in the 2010 Castelló Masters aged 17 years and 188 days.
“I’m genuinely excited about playing in the World Cup, and can’t wait to make my debut at Royal Melbourne. It’s not often that you get the chance to play for your country as well as yourself, so I really want to play well and help make it a great week for Italy,” Manassero said. “When Edoardo and Francesco won in 2009 it was huge news in Italy, so hopefully I can help bring the trophy back home again.”
Thongchai, the only man to win three Asian Tour Order of Merit titles, represents the true global nature of the World Cup of Golf, having played in tournaments across the globe.
With 13 victories on the Asian Tour which include three co-sanctioned tournaments with The European Tour and another victory at the ISPS Handa Wales Open in 2012, Thongchai has shown he can compete at the highest level of the game. His best finish in 2013 came at The European Tour’s Volvo World Match Play Championship, where he finished runner-up to Graeme McDowell.
“I always enjoy playing in the World Cup, it’s a great tournament and obviously a little bit different from the events we usually play,” Thongchai said. “You want to do well when you are playing for your country, so I will give it my best shot.”
There is no confirmation of the Australian side at present. Adam Scott would be an automatic selection but with commitments to the Australian PGA Championship and the Masters in the two previous weeks and the Australian Open the week after then his participation is not yet assured.