Spieth, Day head favourites at Australian Open
The 2017 Australian Open starts tomorrow at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney in its 105th edition of the championship.
Headlining the tournament are former world number ones, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth, who is also a two-time winner of this tournament. They are the only representatives from the world’s top-50 players competing.
Two-time winner Jordan Spieth (Credit: Anthony Powter)
Spieth’s appearance fee for playing for the Stonehaven Cup has been reported to be in the vicinity of $1 million, and the reigning British Open champion has tasted regular success in Sydney.
The three-time major winner was only 21 when he blasted away the field at the Australian Golf Club, which included defending champion Rory McIlroy, by six strokes in 2014. He returned in 2015, where he tied for second a stroke off the pace, before adding another victory after a playoff last year at Royal Sydney against Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.
Day also has made the very profitable trip back to his homeland reportedly receiving a similar amount to Spieth in an event he has missed lately due to injuries and last played in 2013.
Day has never won the Australian Open title and will be keen to add his name to the Stonehaven Cup, if anything for sentimental reasons given the names of Aussie greats already etched on the trophy.
The last time Day won was back in 2013 and he has slipped back to 12th in the world after taking the number one spot. Day is in need of a win to kick start what has otherwise has been a very lacklustre last twelve months.
Cameron Smith is coming off his maiden PGA Tour win back in May at the Zurich Classic as well as two top-10 finishes this season already including a recent third place finish at The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges. Smith will certainly be a player to watch this week and could steal Day and Spieth’s thunder come Sunday.
Jason Scrivener, a winner on Sunday at the NSW Open, made a last minute call to forgo playing the Hong Kong Open and has opted to instead play this week in Sydney.
Scrivener put on a stellar display last week at Twin Creeks blowing away the field to collect his maiden professional title after seven years on tour. He enters the championship full of renewed confidence for his game and ability to win.
Other notable Australian favourites in this week’s field including past winners Matt Jones, Greg Chalmers, Geoff Ogilvy, Craig Parry and Peter Lonard.
The Australian Golf Course will host the championship for a record 20th time. Matt Jones took home the title the last time it was played here in 2015, with Jones finishing one shot ahead of Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth.
The list of previous winners includes many of the world’s greats and best players with Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Peter Thomson, Tom Watson, Adam Scott all on the trophy.
As an additional bonus the leading three players, who finish in the top-10 and ties and who are not already exempt, will qualify for the Open Championship to be played at Carnoustie next July.