Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan has earned his place in the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne, Australia this November and has picked recent Asian Tour winner Chan Shih-chang as his partner.
Tournament officials also announced that six-time international tournament champion and recent U.S. Olympian Rickie Fowler has replaced Bubba Watson as the top player to represent the United States at Kingston Heath Golf Club from November 24-27.
Fowler quickly chose six-time PGA TOUR champion Jimmy Walker, who won his first career major championship at the U.S. PGA Championship this year, to be his partner in the two-man team competition.
Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo also withdrew from the event and after Andres Romero chose not to commit, Pan, regarded as a rising star of the game, became the next player to qualify. He subsequently named Chan, who won the recent King’s Cup in Thailand for his first Asian Tour triumph, as his partner.
The 24-year-old Pan is a former world amateur number one and also a double Asian Games gold medalist. After turning professional last year, he has won twice on the PGA Tour Canada.
In 1972, Hsieh Min-Nan and Lu Liang-Huan won the World Cup of Golf for Chinese Taipei in Australia.
Other Asian Tour stars who have earned their places in the World Cup of Golf include Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and Filipino Miguel Tabuena. China’s Wu Ashun, Byeonghun An of Korea and Hideki Matsuyama of Japan have also committed to the team event where they will each name their partners by this Friday.
Watson had expressed his desire to play on the U.S. Team for some time and while he was excited to represent his country and play in Australia, he ultimately changed his mind due to scheduling and personal reasons.
“It was a very difficult choice not to play in the World Cup of Golf. I was extremely excited to have the opportunity to represent my country and to play in Australia, a place where I have always enjoyed playing golf,” Watson said. “Rickie and Jimmy will do a great job as a team and I wish them the best.”
Fowler and Walker will both be playing in the World Cup of Golf for the first time. Fowler, a three-time champion on the PGA TOUR has also won events on the European Tour and the Asian Tour. He begins the FedExCup Playoffs this week at No. 28 in the standings with 7 top-10 finishes.
Fowler began the season coming off his most successful season of his career in 2014-2015 where he won twice on the PGA TOUR with a memorable and historic performance at THE PLAYERS Championship and later at the Deutsche Bank Championship — where he will defend his title next week. He also won the European Tour’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in 2015.
Walker and Fowler were paired together twice at The Presidents Cup 2015, most notably winning over Anirban Lahiri and Thongchai Jaidee 5&4.
“Coming off the amazing experience that I had at the Olympics, it’s great to have the chance to put on the red, white and blue again and play for the United States in the World Cup of Golf,” Fowler said. “Jimmy is not only one of my favorite guys out here on TOUR, but he is clearly one of the most talented players on our TOUR as well. I think we’ll make a fantastic team and our strengths will work well together. I’ve heard great things about Kingston Heath and can’t wait to get to Australia.”
In his sixth start at the PGA Championship, Walker followed a holed bunker shot for birdie at the par-4 10th with a 30’ 2” birdie at the par-4 11th to get to 13-under and two strokes clear of Jason Day. Walker would never lose the outright lead, post a 3-under 67 and claim a one-stroke victory. The win was Walker’s first major championship. All of Walker’s six PGA TOUR victories have come in the last three seasons after playing seven seasons on TOUR without a win.
The top players from the 28 qualifying countries committed to the event on August 16 and have until August 26 to officially choose their playing partners. Already, the field for the World Cup of Golf in 2016 has a number of golf’s biggest names joining Fowler and Walker including defending champions Jason Day and Adam Scott, England’s Danny Willett and Lee Westwood and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama.
The 2016 tournament will return to a 72-hole, stroke play, two-man team event format. The first and third days of competition will be the foursomes (alternate shot) format and the second and final days are fourball (best ball) play.
Tickets and hospitality packages starting at $30 are now available by visiting the World Cup of Golf website atwww.WorldCupofGolf.com
Full list of confirmed players:
About the World Cup of Golf: The 2016 World Cup of Golf will mark the fifth time in the tournament’s history that it will be played in Australia and the first at any course other than Royal Melbourne.
Previous World Cup of Golf events in Australia:
Year Winning Country/Players
1959 Australia (Peter Thomson/Kel Nagle)
1972 Chinese Taipei (Hsieh Min-Nan/Lu Liang-Huan)
1988 United States (Ben Crenshaw/Mark McCumber)
2013 Australia (Jason Day/Adam Scott)