Solid Aussie line up chasing US Open glory

One of the first things I did after Geoff Ogilvy captured the 2006 U.S. Open was to sprint down to the Winged Foot merchandise tent and purchase a handful of commemorative 18th hole flags.

In the weeks following, Geoff very kindly signed the flags and in returning home to Australia later that year I presented three of them to good friends, handed one to the local professional at Bathurst Golf Club and I still have two in my possession.

Adam Scott Adam Scott celebrates winning the 2013 Masters (Credit: Getty Images)

Seven years later, I felt so proud in getting to shake Adam Scott’s hand when he entered the media centre at Augusta National after becoming the first Australian to win the Masters. What a moment in the history of Australian golf.

My second attendance at the Masters had been in 1996 when I was ‘guilty’, like so many others in the Augusta National media centre that final Sunday, of having written much of the story about Norman becoming the first Australian to win the Masters.

That was in the morning and well before Norman had teed-off and surely in leading by six shots with 18 holes to play Norman could not let slip victory.

So, the story was written and all we needed was Greg’s winning quotes.

Big mistake!

Now seven years on, the itch to write the final round chapter of the 2020 U.S. Open is not as strong but then there’s no denying that with nine golfers teeing-up on Winged Foot sporting ‘Down Under’ passports, the odds of a second straight Australian-born winner at Winged Foot would seem better than most other non-USA countries.

The nine Australians have each fully earned their place in the Winged Foot field.

Scott, the highest world ranked at No. 12, captured this year’s Tiger Woods Genesis Invitational. The now 40-year old is among just a handful who teed-up in the 2006 U.S. Open finishing T21. This week is also Scott’s 19th U.S. Open showing with a best finish of T4 in 2015.

Marc Leishman has to be in that class of ‘one of the best golfers not to win a major’ and with a best U.S. Open showing of T18 in 2016.

Leishman’s best finish in a major was the Monday finish of the 2015 Open Championship at St. Andrews when he lost out in a play-off to American Zach Johnson.

The Victorian captured a fifth PGA Tour title earlier this year posting a last day 65 to deny Jon Rahm victory in the Farmers Insurance Open.

Jason Day is the second Australian major championship holder teeing-up on Winged Foot. Again, it was great being present at Whistling Straits when the Queenslander captured the 2015 PGA Championship by three strokes along the shores of Lake Michigan.

Two weeks later, and in his very next event, it was great to also shake Jason’s hand soon after capturing the Barclays Championship.

Day brilliantly kick-started his Majors career, and in just his third and fourth appearance at the game’s highest level, with brilliant back-to-back second place results at the 2011 Masters and then the 2011 U.S. Open.

He was always going to win a major and he did that in 2015 but now, and much like Rory McIlroy, the big question remains when is Jason going to win a second.

Joining Scott, Leishman and Day will be:

  • Lucas Herbert (Omega Dubai Desert Classic winner)
  • Cameron Smith (Sony Hawaii Open winner)
  • Matt Jones (Double Australian Open champ)
  • Scott Hend (15-time winner around the world)
  • Curtis Luck (Qualified via Korn Ferry Tour)
  • Lukas Michel (Current U.S. Mid-Amateur champ)