Norman, Scott and Ogilvy headed for Open

Australia’s star trio of Greg Norman, Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy have confirmed their availability for this year’s Australian Open in what is a massive boost for the nation’s marquee event.

Scott will be out to defend the title presented to him by Norman last year at The Lakes in Sydney from December 2-5. For the second successive year the tournament will form the penultimate leg on the OneAsia Tour and offer a purse of US$1.3 million.

Geoff Ogilvy Geoff Ogilvy

Renowned champions in their own right, Scott triumphed in the Valero Texas Open earlier this year on the PGA Tour, while Ogilvy claimed the season-opening SBS Championship in Hawaii. Along with Norman, who is a five-time winner of the Australian Open, this year’s tournament is quickly building a star-studded line-up.

In 2009, Scott won his first Australian title claiming the Australian Open by five shots over compatriot Stuart Appleby after a tense final round at the NSW Golf Club.

“Winning the 2009 Australian Open was one of the great highlights of my career,” Scott said.

“Having dreamed of that moment since I was a kid it was a wonderful feeling to have Greg Norman hand me the trophy and to see my name next to the greats in golf is something to cherish. I’m sure this year’s Open at The Lakes will be another great event and I will be hoping to have the engraver add my name again to the Stonehaven Cup!”

Scott’s victory in Texas was his seventh on the PGA Tour and came on a course designed by his hero Norman. Ogilvy, the 2006 US Open champion, is still in search of his first Australian Open and in particular is looking forward to playing the course.

“Returning to Sydney for the Australian Open at The Lakes will have special significance for me,” Ogilvy said. “The golf course was remodelled by Mike Clayton with whom I am forming a new golf course design company, Ogilvy Clayton Golf Design. Appreciating Mike’s design skills, I am sure the new layout will provide a fitting test for our national Open.”

Two-time Major winner Norman last lifted the Stonehaven Cup in 1996. Injury meant he was unable to compete last year but he is excited about the prospect of returning this December.

“I look forward to my return to Sydney and my participation in the 2010 Australian Open at The Lakes,” Norman said. “Both The Lakes as a venue and the Australian Open as a tournament are special to me in that they are both an integral part of my career,” the 55-year-old added.

Other star players will be confirmed over the coming months including a wealth of talent from OneAsia which this year boasts 11 events, offering a total of over US$12 million in prizemoney. Minister for Tourism Jodi McKay said tens of thousands of spectators were expected to attend the 2010 Australian Open.

“More than 30,000 visitors came for the Australian Open Golf last year, including significant numbers from overseas and interstate,” she said. “Global golf stars like Greg Norman, defending champion Adam Scott and 2006 US Open Champion Geoff Ogilvy will guarantee another great crowd in 2010.”

McKay said the NSW Government is working with Greg Norman in his role as NSW tourism ambassador to attract even more visitors to Sydney for the event. The Australian Open was first played in 1904 and has been won by the biggest names in the game. South African Gary Player has lifted the Stonehaven Cup a record seven times while Jack Nicklaus from the United States has been victorious on six occasions. Stephen Pitt, Golf Australia CEO, suggests the new Lakes Golf Course design will be a great test for our national Open.

“The Australian Open is one of the most prestigious titles in world golf and fittingly, Norman, Ogilvy and Scott will lead another very strong field,” Pitt said. “The course at The Lakes will be a great and unique challenge for the players with some demanding holes mixed with some holes that offer scoring opportunities.”

For the second successive season World Sport Group (WSG) will be the promoter of the Australian Open and have engaged TRP Sports as event organizer. WSG have a six-year agreement with Golf Australia to be the promoter.