Why you should watch the 2016 World Cup of Golf
We’re nearing the end of November, which means that golf isn’t exactly top of mind for a lot of people. Sports is really at its peak at this time of year, with important and entertaining games happening in basketball, football, hockey and soccer. Golf, especially in their “offseason”, just can’t compete week in and week out with that kind of firepower.
However, I’m here to tell you that this week is a little different. The World Cup of Golf, a 72-hole stroke play team event with both foursome and fourball play, is happening this week from Kingston Heath in Australia, and you should absolutely make some time for it.
The first reason to pay attention this week is that if you live in North America, Golf Channel will have coverage at a great time. From Wednesday to Saturday, you’ll be able to tune in live from 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM ET, which means that you should either be home from work by then, enjoying your weekend or sufficiently tired of your family after spending too much time with them on Thanksgiving. Whichever category you fall under, you should be ready to watch some golf and thankfully, the field is full of talented and interesting players to watch.
Twenty eight countries will be represented this week, with two players playing for each nation. The table below shows the teams sorted by their odds to win the tournament.
|Australia||Adam Scott and Marc Leishman||5-1|
|Japan||Hideki Matsuyama and Ryo Ishikawa||8-1|
|USA||Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker||9-1|
|Spain||Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Jon Rahm||10-1|
|Sweden||Alex Noren and David Lingmerth||12-1|
|England||Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan||12-1|
|Ireland||Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell||14-1|
|Belgium||Thomas Pieters and Nicolas Colsaerts||16-1|
|Denmark||Soren Kjeldsen and Thorbjorn Olesen||20-1|
|South Korea||Byeong-hun An and K.T. Kim||22-1|
|Thailand||Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat||25-1|
|Italy||Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero||28-1|
|New Zealand||Danny Lee and Ryan Fox||30-1|
|South Africa||Jaco van Zyl and George Coetzee||33-1|
|France||Victor Dubuisson and Romain Langasque||40-1|
|Scotland||Russell Knox and Duncan Stewart||50-1|
|Canada||David Hearn and Adam Hadwin||50-1|
|China||Wu Ashun and Haotong Li||66-1|
|Wales||Bradley Dredge and Stuart Manley||100-1|
|Germany||Alex Cejka and Stephan Jaeger||125-1|
|Austria||Bernd Wiesberger and Martin Wiegele||150-1|
|Netherlands||Joost Luiten and Darius van Driel||150-1|
|Chinese Taipei||C.T. Pan and Shih-chang Chan||150-1|
|Portugal||Ricardo Gouveia and Jose-Filipe Lima||150-1|
|India||SSP Chawrasia and S Chikkarangappa||200-1|
|Phillipines||Miguel Tabuena and Angelo Que||250-1|
|Malaysia||Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung||300-1|
|Venezuela||Jhonattan Vegas and Julio Vegas||300-1|
If you can’t get excited about this field, you’re not a golf fan. You’ve got big names like Adam Scott and Rickie Fowler, the two hottest players in the world in Hideki Matsuyama and Alex Noren, young stars in Jon Rahm, Thomas Pieters, Thorbjorn Olesen and Haotong Li. Kiradech! Ryo! Matteo! Danny Lee! While this field will likely lack the superstar name appeal of Tiger’s event next week, you’d be hard pressed to find a more entertaining group than this one.
On top of that, one of the reasons I love watching events like this is that you’ll more than likely end up seeing someone for the first time that really catches your eye, like Angelo Que who plays with a neon ball and dresses super weird. Maybe you’ll find someone like Soomin Lee, who has arguably the best looking swing in the world or a new Kiradech-level #TourSauce aficionado. At the very least, you’ll be able to watch someone with a super interesting backstory. S Chikkarangappa, who is paired with SSP Chawrasia for India, grew up poor and started out as a caddie making very little money but he fell in love with the game and practiced his swing by using a tree branch that he carved into a golf club. Now, he’s playing in the same tournament with some of the best players in the world and that’s really cool. One of the best things about watching professional golf is that finding new players to root for is super easy because there’s always someone new to watch, and you have a perfect opportunity to do that this week.
I could go on and on about the field, but the real star of the week is going to be the golf course. Kingston Heath is a stunning course that gets overshadowed by the magnificent Royal Melbourne, and it’s really quite unfortunate because it really is breathtaking. Dan Soutar designed the course back in 1925 with help from Alister MacKenzie, and you can definitely see MacKenzie’s influence when you look at the spectacular bunkering on the layout. PGATour.com has a really good hole-by-hole preview that’s worth checking out, and the video below shows off the course where you can really see why it is consistently rated inside the top 25 in the world.
Unfortunately, Kingston Heath doesn’t host many televised events, with its last two events being the 2009 and 2012 Australian Masters won by Tiger Woods and Adam Scott. Tiger raved about Kingston Heath after the event, saying “All the guys have raved about this golf course and I understand why. I enjoy all the sandbelt courses really, because it brings back shotmaking and it’s something that we don’t see enough of in the States.”
Like I said, you should make some time for the World Cup. It might be November, but we could be looking at one of the most entertaining golf tournaments of the year this week.