Adam Scott says he and Marc Leishman have a point to prove in the World Cup of Golf.
The pair, famously linked by photos of Leishman celebrating Scott’s putt on the 72nd green of his 2013 Masters triumph, haven’t won when teamed at the past two Presidents Cups.
But on a course where Scott is a member and a past Australian Masters champion and Leishman grew up playing pennant on what he describes as “arguably my favourite track in the world”, they are desperate to make amends.
Defending the title Scott and Jason Day won in 2013 at nearby Royal Melbourne, the Aussies have been drawn to play with Americans Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker at 12.10pm on day one.
Other highly rated teams this week include Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and Ryo Ishikawa, Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello and Jon Rahm, Sweden's Alex Noren and David Lingmerth, Englishmen Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan, Ireland's Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell and Belgium’s Thomas Pieters and Nicolas Colsaerts.
But the local focus will be on Scott and Leishman with both intent on defending home turf – and righting wrongs from their Presidents Cup past.
“Marc and I, having played together and lost both those occasions, I think we have a little something to prove this week,” Scott said.
“We partnered each other in those matches and I think we can draw on those negatives and turn it into a positive this week.”
Scott finished in a tie for 14th at the Emirates Australian Open at Royal Sydney last week, lamenting his rusty short game at the weekend.
But he said it had lifted markedly in practice this week.
“It's improved the last couple of days and I played really nicely here today, so I'm happy with that and hopefully that comes back out with me tomorrow and Marc will be happy with that to,” he said.
Leishman said he was delighted to not only play in his home state again, but pull on Australian colours for the first time since his amateur days.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I can’t wait to get out there,” the Warrnambool ace said.
Tomorrow’s format is alternate shot, or foursomes.
The Aussies use different makes of balls and have decided that the player teeing off will use the other’s ball so the second shot will be hit by a player using their regular ball.
“We think that’s the best way,” Leishman said.
“It matters more the feel when you’re playing an approach shot rather than a driver, I think.”