Golf: US$8 million World Cup set for Australia's Royal Melbourne

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia will host golf's revamped US$8 million (S$9.95 million) World Cup at Royal Melbourne in November, tournament organisers and state government officials said on Sunday.

A joint announcement by the International Federation of PGA Tours, the Australian state of Victoria and the International Golf Association said the World Cup will be staged on Nov 21-24.

It will be the fourth time the World Cup has been held in Australia with the last event won by the United States at Royal Melbourne in 1988, as part of Australia's bicentennial celebrations.

Royal Melbourne, which also hosted The Presidents Cup 2011, will stage back-to-back events in November.

The World Cup will be preceded by the Australian Masters, which boasts recently-crowned Augusta Masters winner Adam Scott as the defending champion and will be followed by the Australian Open at Royal Sydney.

"This is a great day for golf and a great day for Australia," PGA of Australia chief executive Brian Thorburn said.

"The addition of the World Cup will complement an already strong swing of tournaments including the Australian PGA, Open and Masters and will significantly boost the international player prospects for these events."

The World Cup will have a total purse of US$8 million, with individual strokeplay competition worth US$7 million, and a team component (adding the total scores of two-man teams) worth US$1 million.

The World Cup qualification system is similar to the one that will be used at the Olympic Games - golf returns to the programme in Rio in 2016.

The field will include 60 players with no cut and with eligibility taken from the Official World Golf Ranking.

Up to four players can qualify, per country, if they are in the top 15 rankings.

Beyond No. 15, up to a maximum of two players per country can qualify.

Under the World Cup qualification model England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be recognised as individual nations, not as Great Britain as at the Olympics.