Australia’s last winner of one of golf’s majors, Geoff Ogilvy, has urged his compatriots to attack the grand slams as preparations get underway for this week’s British Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes.
Ogilvy, winner of the 2006 US Open, says he is puzzled at the lack of success by Australian players in the key events.
Greg Norman recently said Australians had "an unacceptable strike rate" in light of their obvious talent.
Ogilvy agreed, expanding on the issue during a short break at home in Melbourne recently.
"We under-achieve relative to our talent level", he told News Ltd. There are nine Australians in the world’s top 100 and 14 will line up at Royal Lytham and St Anne’s on Thursday.
"It’s not like we’re in a bit of a lull with our talent – we’ve got a handful of guys who can compete at the top level any given week," Ogilvy said.
"I don’t know if there’s anything missing in what we do … but it should be a really good era for us.
"The next 10 years we’ve got some pretty world class players and maybe it’s as simple as now it’s our time, let’s go do it."
Ogilvy said players capable of winning perhaps needed to boost their confidence levels.
"Golf’s a very hard game, but it’s a very mental game and I think sometimes the guys who do well are the guys who think they should do well.
"Maybe it’s time we just believed in ourselves." he said.
Ogilvy includes himself in the conundrum – despite his US Open win he is confused by his poor record in the British Open.
The seven-time US PGA Tour winner has played nine Opens but has missed seven cuts. His best result was a fifth at St Andrews in 2005.
"It’s weird to me, because I played a lot of amateur golf around links courses and played really well," he said.
"I feel like I should play well on links courses. Maybe it’s no excuses, time to go do it, I suppose."
He has struggled on the US tour this season but says he is now in a better frame of mind following a month-long break.
"The game’s in place and I’m pretty enthusiastic about the game and pretty fired up, but I think sometimes when you take a few weeks off you can gain that extra level of whatever that thing is in your head when you’re playing well, that relaxed confidence."
Other Australians competing in the Open are Robert Allenby, Aaron Baddeley, Greg Chalmers, Nick Cullen, Jason Day, Marcus Fraser, Ashley Hall, Brendan Jones, Brad Kennedy, Adam Scott, John Senden, Aaron Townsend and Marc Leishman, whose participation was in doubt.
Leishman, winner of the Travelers Championship in the US recently, was waiting on clearance from US immigration authorities to leave America while his Green Card application was being processed.
The Victorian’s paperwork to travel to Great Britain has been processed and he is free to travel.
"It’s all official, they rushed it through and it’s all good," Leishman said. "I am pumped and looking forward to it."
Leishman said the British Open was one of his favorite events.
“I love links golf,” he said. “It has been a while since I played links golf, but growing up in the wind, you never forget how to play in it, and after a few days’ preparation over there I should be ready and raring to go."
By: Robert Grant