Already a better feel to Australian Open

BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2006 Australian Open | Preview | 14 Nov 2006

Royal Sydney Golf Club in the ritzy Sydney harbourside suburb of Rose Bay was abuzz this morning as the field for the pro am at the Australian Open took to the fairways of the redesigned layout, many of them experiencing the Ross Watson redesign for the very first time.

On a beautiful Sydney morning there was an atmosphere, which had been noticeably absent from the Australian Open in recent years and the number of people who had turned up to watch a full list of Australian stars in the pro am would have been a welcome sight for those involved in the new look Australian Open.

The golf course has undergone considerable change over the last few years, initially to upgrade the quality of the greens but then to include even greater changes. The Royal Sydney Golf Club was keen to have greens of the same quality for which the many of the courses in Melbourne had become famous but the decision was also made to include even greater changes, taking advantage of the earthworks involved in greens improvement to make other alterations.

The jury will return with their verdict later in the week but to a large extent the changes have already received approval from the people who matter most, the members of the Royal Sydney Golf Club. Like all golf clubs however they will welcome the universal approval of a field of such quality as that assembled this week, if that indeed is the verdict returned.

A field that includes arguably Australia’s greatest, Greg Norman, the current US Open Champion, Geoff Ogilvy, the USPGA Tour Champion, Adam Scott, the triple crown winner on the Australasian Tour last year, Robert Allenby, and a host of others who have met with various levels of success on the USPGA Tour will ensure that the 200 Australian Open is the best in many years.

While Australians who have met with success in America include those above and the likes of Stuart Appleby, Aaron Baddeley, Rod Pampling, John Senden, and Nathan Green the European Tour stalwarts might also have some say in this week’s outcome with Nick O’Hern and Richard Green genuine chances to take the title.

Those other than Australians with chances include American Kevin Stadler who in February won the Johnnie Walker Classic and then went on to win twice on the Nationwide Tour. Will McKenzie is a young man who seems genuinely delighted to be here and as a winner on the USPGA Tour in Reno this year he can’t be overlooked.

While there will be several Europeans in Australia at next week’s MasterCard Masters there are only a few this week but England’s Anthony Wall has done enough in Europe this year to suggest that he has some sort of chance this week.

If today is any indication then this year’s Australian Open promises to be the best for many years.

Photo – Anthony Powter

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    About the Author: Bruce Young

    A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of the game comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

    Read all of Bruce's articles »

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