The World Cup of Golf is a men's golf tournament contested by teams of two representing their country. Only one team is allowed from each country. The players are selected on the basis of the Official World Golf Ranking, although not all of the first choice players choose to compete. The equivalent event for women was the Women's World Cup of Golf, played from 2005 to 2008.
The tournament was founded by Canadian industrialist John Jay Hopkins, who hoped it would promote international goodwill through golf. It began in 1953 as the Canada Cup and changed its name to the World Cup in 1967. With Fred Corcoran as the Tournament Director and the International Golf Association behind it (1955–77), the World Cup traveled the globe and grew to be one of golf's most prestigious tournaments throughout the 1960s and 1970s, but interest in the event faded to the point that the event was not held in 1981 or 1986.
The tournament was incorporated into the World Golf Championships series from 2000 to 2006. In 2007 it ceased to be a World Golf Championships event, but continued to be sanctioned by the International Federation of PGA Tours.
From 2007 through 2009 the tournament was held at the Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzhen, China, receiving the name Mission Hills World Cup. There was no tournament in 2010, it having been announced that the event would change from annual to biennial, held in odd-numbered years, to accommodate the 2016 inclusion of golf at the Olympics. The 2011 tournament was at a new venue — Mission Hills Haikou in the Chinese island province of Hainan.
The United States has a clear lead in wins, with 24 as of 2016.
In 1953, the format was 36 holes of stroke play with the combined score of the two-man team determining the winner. From 1954 to 1999, the format was 72 holes of stroke play. Beginning in 2000, the format became alternating stroke play rounds of bestball (fourball) and alternate shot (foursomes).
The 2013 tournament was primarily an individual event with a team component. The 60-player field was selected based on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) with up to two players per country allowed to qualify (four per country if they are within the top 15 of the OWGR). The format returned to 72 holes of stroke play, with the individuals competing for US$7 million of the $8 million total purse. OWGR points were awarded for the first time. The top two-ranked players from each country competed for the team portion, using combined stroke play scores. The individual portion was similar to what would be used at the 2016 Summer Olympics, except that England, Scotland, and Wales had teams instead of a single Great Britain team in the Olympics.
In 2016, the format reverted to that used from 2000 to 2011.
From 1955 to 1999, there was also a separate award, the International Trophy, for the individual with the best 72-hole score.
Performance by nation
- 4 times: Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, Fred Couples and Davis Love III
- 2 times: Kel Nagle and Peter Thomson, Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead
As part of team
- 6 times: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer
- 4 times: Fred Couples, Davis Love III, Sam Snead
- 2 times: Seve Ballesteros, José Maria Cañizares, Ernie Els, Dan Halldorson, Bernhard Langer, John Mahaffey, Johnny Miller, Kel Nagle, Manuel Piñero, Peter Thomson, Lee Trevino, Tiger Woods
As individual (International Trophy)
- "Slow Greens Worry World Cup Golfers". The Age. 9 November 1967. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
- Jimenez, Tony (15 March 2010). "Golf-Record purse of $7.5 million for new biennial World Cup". Reuters. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
- "Omega Mission Hills World Cup to Become Biennial Event" (Press release). Asian Tour. 15 March 2010. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
- "US wins golf World Cup". ABC News. 27 November 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
- "World Cup of Golf Moves to Australia". PGA Tour. 11 May 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- "McIlroy might play for Northern Ireland in World Cup". PGA Tour. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- "N. Ireland, Ireland will team in WCup". ESPN. Associated Press. 17 May 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
- "Omega Title Sponsor of the Mission Hills World Cup". Asian Tour. 30 January 2007.[dead link]