There was a great deal of excitement for Aussie golfing fans at the Royal Melbourne golf course on Nov 24, when the Australian team of Jason Day and Adam Scott took out the prestigious 2013 ISPS Handa World Cup with the exceptional score of 17 under par.
Even the Melbourne weather of “four seasons in the one day” couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the thousands of golfing fans who were treated to four days of top golf.
Teams from 26 countries competed for the coveted title on one of the finest golf courses in the world.
These top golfers not only battled each other, but also the unpredictable weather conditions and the exceptionally tough Royal Melbourne Golf Course’s “electric” greens.
“You have just got to be very patient because the greens are so hard and so fast,” said Stuart Manley, a player from Wales in the individual event. “They’re very scary.”
Australian team members Scott and Day shared the first prize of $US600,000 ($A653,000).
Ten shots behind in the team event was the American duo Matt Kuchar and Kevin Streelman, who earned $US300,000 ($A326,000), while the Denmark and Japanese teams tied for a close third at $US50,000 ($A54,000).
But the hero of the crowd was Day, who played at the top of his game in spite of the recent loss of family members in Typhoon Haiyan this month. Day said it was an emotional time, which only increased his determination to win.
“I found out last week that we lost some family members over in the Philippines,” Day said. “To have my mum [and sisters] here this week…to let them see me play some good golf and to win in front of a great sporting city like Melbourne – I am just happy that she is here and I get to hug her.”
Day was the popular winner of the individual event run in conjunction with the partnered event. He collected $US1.2 million ($A1.3 million) in the individual event together with his $US300,000 share of the team competition for a total of $US1.5million – a career-high in total earnings from a single tournament.
“It was a complete honour to win here at Royal Melbourne,” Day said. “To win in front of the Melbourne fans who are so passionate about their sport was an amazing feeling.”
All top sportsmen agree that mental preparation is the key for a big tournaments like this one. Although golf is a game of skill, it also requires a focused, clear and peaceful mind and, as Day said at a press interview, he mentally prepared himself beforehand to “be patient”.
Thomas Bjorn from Denmark, who was only two shots off from winning the individual competition, said it was a “very patience testing golf course”.
“Obviously I’m disappointed,” he said, “but on the whole it’s been a great week. It’s been a real pleasure to play on this golf course and I couldn’t be happier for Jason winning.
“He has gone through a rough time of late, and for him to even be here is massive. To go and win a golf tournament in the circumstances and for Australia to win the team event, that’s what all the people came to see.”
The last time the Cup was won by Australia on home soil was back in 1959 by Hall of Fame inductees Peter Thompson and Kel Nagle.
The World Cup, founded in 1952 by John Jay Hopkins, is regarded as the world’s greatest golf team event. Hopkins founded the cup in the belief that golf could make a difference in the world by bringing nations together and creating greater understanding.
“Golf is a civilised and a civilising game,” he once said. “It’s a game for good neighbours. It has the spice of good competition, while imposing the highest moral restraints.”