World Cup favouritism fine by Leishman, Smith
Victorian Marc Leishman is embracing the fact Australia is favourite to win this week's World Cup of Golf at Metropolitan.
Leishman's playing partner, Queenslander Cameron Smith, carded a 66 at the Australian Open on Sunday to finish tied for 10th at The Lakes, further enhancing the home team's standing.
The pair have been discussing how to win the World Cup since world No.19 Leishman called Smith and told him he'd picked the 25-year-old as his partner.
There have been on and off-course discussions, even beer and pizza around a hotel pool in Kuala Lumpur last month after Leishman's win there.
Leishman "loves" Metropolitan, and loves being home too, and it's a combination geared for success.
"It will be different, being favourites, for sure. But I think most of it is pressure you put on yourself," Leishman told the Herald Sun.
"We've been talking a lot. We are mindful of that. We have been playing with each other's golf balls, chipping around, thinking about what we are going to do in foursomes.
"We are laid-back enough that the pressure and expectation shouldn't faze us. But it will be a new experience for us both, going in as a favourite. It would be nice to prove everyone right."
Both were in the spotlight at Augusta National this year, Smith rattling home to finish fifth and Leishman playing the third round with eventual winner Patrick Reed, so the glare this week shouldn't be too hard to handle.
"I feel like if you are going to win any tournament, you are going to have to play in front of big crowds at some point," Leishman said.
"That kind of focuses me more. I feel like I need to be right in to it."
Smith was excited to take the second spot in the Australian team.
Adam Scott partnered Leishman at the 2016 World Cup at Kingston Heath, finishing tied for ninth, and there was a chance of the pair teaming up again.
But Smith's strong finish to the year, when he surged in to the top 30 to be Australia's third-ranked player behind Jason Day and Leishman, made it hard not to pick him.
"He played unbelievably well in the second half of the year to get into the position he was,'' Leishman said.
"He was really determined to do it (World Cup). He was talking about it all year.
"It was a very hard decision for me. Scotty picked me last time. But Cam made it impossible for me not to pick him. I feel like I made a good decision."
Australia is a $5.50 favourite with TAB from England ($7.50), the US ($9) and defending champion Denmark ($10).
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