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Golfers coy on new World Cup format

NO ONE competing in golf's World Cup wants to say it straight out, but there doesn't seem to be much love for the new individual-based format.

NO ONE competing in golf's World Cup at Royal Melbourne wants to say it straight out, but there doesn't seem to be much love for the new individual-based format.

Until now, it's been purely a teams event and, since 2000, the two players representing each country have had to truly work together, combining in fourballs and foursomes.

This year it's a four-round strokeplay event - with just $1 million prizemoney for teams and $7 million for individuals.

Eight of the 60 entrants aren't in a team at all and of those that are, none will play together in the first two rounds.

As Denmark's Thomas Bjorn put it, it doesn't feel completely like he's playing for his homeland.

"Before you really represented your country, now it's a lot more individual," he said.

Bjorn, playing the event for the fifth time, can understand the change, saying the tournament had dwindled in drawing power since 2001, when South Africans Ernie Els and Retief Goosen won.

"I think there should have been more of a team aspect in it than there is, but that's the way it is," he said.

South Korean pair KJ Choi and Bae Sang-Moon signalled their feelings on the format change without saying much.

Asked whether he liked it, Choi dodged the question through an interpreter.

"Because it is a very sensitive answer, he said rather than say yes or no, (say) it is going to be very competitive and very challenging," Choi's interpreter said.

The question was then referred to Bae, who answered: "I think so too."

American Matt Kuchar, who combined with Gary Woodland to win in 2011, last week spoke of how much he enjoyed the teams format that year.

"There was a lot of fun because the format was different to the normal," he said.

"This World Cup seems to be going back to the strokeplay mentality."

Not that he was willing to express disapproval of the change either.

"I'm not saying that. I enjoyed it. This is going to be new for everybody," Kuchar said.



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