Royal Melbourne is the host for this year’s World Cup of golf. The course opened for play in 1901 but by the early 1920’s housing had started to engulf the western corner of the property. The club decided to sell this part of the site and move slightly east to Black Rock where an additional 68 acres of land was available. Although only six of the original holes were lost in the relocation it was decided that the course should be re-designed. Dr Alister MacKenzie was recommended to the club and he accepted the clubs invitation to advise on the new design.
MacKenzie’s stay in Black Rock was brief – and while on site to survey the land he was accompanied by Australian Open champion Alex Russell and head green-keeper Mick Morcom. Satisfied that both men were capable of interpreting his ideas and philosophies he departed and left the construction of the West Course under their supervision. MacKenzie later described Morcom as the best green-keeper he had ever come across and appointed Russell as his Australian design partner.
What makes the West Course so special is the combination of great land, great design and great construction. The timeless strategy of the MacKenzie design is as profound as it is simplistic and based around wide fairways that are playable to the average golfer, and for the professionals who want to attack the flags the ball needs to be put in specific areas, making strategy a premium.
Dramatic sand hills and bold contours give the site its unique feel and some say Royal Melbourne is one of the finest golf courses in the world. Visually, Morcom’s bunkering is spectacular as are his greens, which for decades have consistently provided the purest putting surfaces anywhere on the planet. Large and beautifully contoured they are built to accommodate approaches from a number of angles.
There are plenty of other standout holes at Royal Melbourne which include the three-shot 4th hole, the driveable par four 10th, with its teasing target perched beyond the largest and deepest sand hazard in the country, and the breath-taking greenside bunkering at the 17th. The final hole is also noteworthy with a thrilling tee shot played across a steep sandy ridge to a blind dipping fairway.
My tips to win:
The Australian team going into the World Cup of golf looks very strong with Adam Scott 3/1 in great form coming off the back of winning the Tallsker Masters to add to his Masters title. Making up the Australian team is Jason Day 8/1 who had three Top 10 finish in four of this years major championships and on home soil no wonder the bookies make the Australian team 7/4 to take the title.
I do think the Americans 7/1 will push the Australian team hard in defending their title and the pairing of Matt Kuchar 7/1 and Kevin Streelman 50/1 look to be a strong team. Kuchar comes into this week on the back of his runners-up finish to Adam Scott at last week’s Tallsker Masters and Streelman won his first PGA Tour event at the Tampa Bay Championship, which started a run of three Top 10 finishes from his next five events, he was only outside the Top 25 once in that run when he missed the cut at The Masters.
If Victor Dubuisson 20/1 keeps up his great run of form then France 16/1 could be in with a great shout. Dubuisson who followed up his victory at the Turkish Airlines Open with a third place finish at the World Tour Championship, teams up with compatriot Gregory Bourdy 50/1 who also had a win this year at the ISPS Wales Open.
My each-way tips:
A great each-way bet this week has to be Germany 66/1 everyone knows when the Germans play in a tournament the form book goes out the window, but I like the look of their team and with Maximillian Kieffer 125/1 coming into this week on the back of two Top 20 finishes at the Turkish Airlines Open and the Tallsker Masters, respectively look for him to do well in the individual event. His teammate is Marcel Siem 66/1, who I rate very much and has tasted victory this year in the Trophée Hassan II.
My Outside tip:
My outside bet would be the Chinese 100/1 a nation you can never dismiss when it comes to team events and with their coaching plan in place gearing up to next years Olympic games look for the pairing of Ashun Wu 250/1 and Wen-chong Liang 80/1 to do well.
For updated betting odds during the tournament go to planetgolfreview.com