Melbourne, Australia: Thai veteran Thongchai Jaidee, young Filipino Miguel Tabuena, Wu Ashun of China, Korean An Byeong-hun and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama have committed to play in the 58th edition of the World Cup of Golf.
To be held at Melbourne’s Kingston Heath Golf Club from November 24-27, the event will feature a diverse field of 28 two-man teams.
Asia’s top golfers will play for national pride as they represent their countries in the World Cup of Golf, which will revert to its previous format where the two members of each team will combine in the fourball and foursomes format in Australia.
Defending champions Australia will be represented by world number one Jason Day and Adam Scott.
Thongchai, the only man to win three Asian Tour Order of Merit titles, said: “I’m looking forward to playing in my fifth World Cup of Golf in Melbourne. With the tournament reverting to a combined team format, I believe it will be very exciting for the players and I hope to put up a strong showing with my partner, Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
“My best finish at the World Cup of Golf was tied seventh in 2008 (with Prayad Marksaeng) and it will be fantastic if I can help Thailand improve on that performance and contend for the prestigious trophy. It is always very special to represent Thailand and with a list of past World Cup champions that include legendary names like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, it will be wonderful if Thailand can rise to the occasion.”
Tabuena, 21, is excited to make his first appearance in the World Cup of Golf. He won his first Asian Tour title at his national Open last December, earned his Major debut in June and featured in August’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“It’s so cool that I have earned the opportunity to represent the Philippines in my first World Cup of Golf and I’m looking forward to competing in Kingston Heath. My season has come along really nicely with my first Major appearance at the US Open followed by my participation at the Olympic Games.
“To now earn the chance to represent the Philippines at the World Cup of Golf is truly meaningful and it shows that my career is moving in the right direction. The World Cup of Golf has a wonderful history and I hope to represent my country well and bring honour back home with a strong showing. This will inspire me to keep working hard at my game.”
China’s Wu, who was victorious in Austria on the European Tour in June, has fond memories of his World Cup of Golf debut in Melbourne three years ago. He said: “It is fantastic that I will be heading back to Melbourne to represent China in the World Cup of Golf as it was there that I made my tournament debut in 2013. I enjoyed my time in Royal Melbourne and I look forward to playing well at Kingston Heath.
“Professional golfers rarely have a chance to represent our countries in team tournaments. Most weeks, we compete as individuals on Tour. There is a lot of history behind the World Cup of Golf and China has hosted the event on several occasions. It will mean a lot to me and also for golf in China if we can put up a strong showing at Kingston Heath.”
Korean An, who also participated in the Olympic Games, is looking forward to representing his country in his first World Cup of Golf. “I take pride in representing my country. There will be a little less pressure than the Olympics, but it is definitely an event that I want to play well in. It will be my first time playing in Australia.”
Top-ranked Day and the world’s seventh-ranked Scott will reunite to defend the World Cup title for Australia following their popular home victory in 2013.
Seoul, Korea: Oh Sang-jun, a prominent figure in golf in South Korea for more than two decades, has been appointed as a Senior Advisor to the Asian Golf Industry Federation.