Leishman and Scott team up
Photo Source: AP
There's no Jason Day but tournament organisers are confident three of the world's top 10 players will still lure fans to Kingston Heath to see Australia defend the World Cup of Golf title next month.
The tournament took a big hit last week when world No.1 Day withdrew due to an ongoing back problem, extending his absence from an Australian golf course to four years.
Other leading Australian and world No.6 Adam Scott on Tuesday confirmed Marc Leishman as his new partner for the two-man, 28 team event to be contested from November 23-27.
Scott could have chosen any Australian but opted for the next highest-ranked player in Leishman.
While the world No.58 doesn't have the same pulling power as Day, tournament director Matt Kamienski said it was still a high-quality field, which includes the 2016 Masters champion, England's Danny Willett (ranked nine), and American Ricky Fowler (10).
Willett will partner Lee Westwood while Fowler and 2016 US PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker make up the US team.
"We've got four major championship winners, we've got six of this year's Ryder Cup team members - two American and four from the European team and 28 of our 56 players are in the top 100 in the world," Kamienski said.
This year the tournament changes from 2013 when it was played in an Olympic-style individual strokeplay format.
The first and third day of competition will be the foursomes (alternate shot) format and the second and final day the fourball (best ball) play.
Kamienski hoped that would appeal to golf fans getting behind their countries.
He felt Leishman, who lost last year's British Open in a three-man playoff, would form a strong partnership with Scott.
The Victorian was paired with Scott when he won his green jacket at The Masters in 2013.
"He's played in two Presidents Cups and won six events around the world and he understands the sandbelt."
Leishman said he was thrilled with his selection and to play at Kingston Heath.
"I can't wait to represent my country back home in Australia," he said in a statement.
"(Kingston Heath is) probably in the top three, along with Augusta National Golf Club and St Andrews.
"Kingston Heath is not long, it's a very fun golf course and you can shoot really low there."