THERE’S nothing happening in the world of golf this week with the exception of the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne.
I’m not fond of betting on team tournaments but because of the lack of anything else I’ll have a go.
Australia ran away with the title three years ago, winning by 10 strokes at nearby Royal Melbourne. There is no individual prize this year which was won by Jason Day last time and the format consists of teams of two competing in foursomes in first and third rounds and fourballs in second and fourth.
The par-72 Kingston Heath course was designed by a former Carnoustie caddie, DG Soutar, in 1923. The course has held seven Australian Opens and two Masters in its history.
I think the strongest team out there this week has to be the Japanese with Hideki Matsuyama, who is sparkling form, and Ryo Ishikawa, who between them have 23 victories worldwide.
Matsuyama has won three times in the last couple of months. Ishikawa hasn’t had his problems to seek, being out for more than five months at the beginning of the year with a back injury.
He came back in July but was still nursing his back, then in August he won the RIZAP KBC Augusta in Fukuoka in his homeland. He followed that with a T2, third and a T7 on the Japanese Tour so it looks like his back problems have disappeared.
My second pick has to be Spain. I’ve been a follower of Rafa Cabrera Bello and his playing partner Jon Rahm for a while and if they hit top form they will be hard to catch.
Rahm has had a super season and having played only 14 times on the PGA Tour he has four top-10 finishes, including a T2 and T3. Well thought of on the Tour and is the only two-time winner of the Ben Hogan Award in 2015 and 2016.
This award recognises the outstanding male amateur and collegiate golfer of the year. Rafa had six top 10s this year on the European Tour and his performance in the Ryder Cup brought him to people’s attention. The two Spaniards are well worth a bet here this week.