Honorary West Australian Michael Long is excited to make his first tour appearance in Perth after his big win earlier in the year at the Victorian Open.
The New Zealander has long been based in Perth, and currently juggles his time between General Manager duties at Hill View Golf Course and the PGA Tour of Australasia.
And according to Long, his incredible recovery shot from a dead lie on the first playoff hole at 13th Beach has now become legend at Hill View.
“It’s been good. I’ve had lot of people came up afterwards, especially to talk about the shot and that’s always nice,” said Long.
“But with the golf course we have a direction we’re trying to head in and not much has changed [after the win] in that department.”
It’s a common irony that those who work in golf have to sacrifice their own game with limited time to practice, but Long says he’s fortunate to be able to do both.
“I’m lucky I have a couple of directors who like having a GM who still competes on our around Australia,” said Long.
“I’m sure they’d like to see we win a bit more often than I do but it’s hard trying to combine the two, but I’m enjoying the challenge.
“I’ve been working as hard as I can on my game, and fitting that in with my job. It’s just nice to see that it’s getting there. There’s still a few parts that I’d like to work on a bit more, but I just love competing and just playing against people, and with that competitive edge it’s always a nice feeling to come out on top.”
When asked about who could do well this week, Long was happy to say he wasn’t sure.
“It’s a wide open field. There’s a nice blend of players who’ve been out here for five to ten years, but then there’s the younger golfers coming through like your Jarryd Feltons who’ll become the next face of Australian golf, which is really exciting.”
On paper, Long is certainly one to watch at WA Golf Club. Sitting fifth in the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit for 2016, Long is the highest money earner in this week’s field. With local knowledge on a course he views quite fondly, the odds could shorten even further.
“It’s a great golf club. I like the membership around here and I almost joined here at one point, but then I got the job at Hill View,” said Long.
"We don’t have many bad golf courses in WA really, so we’re quite spoilt. The new clubhouse here is looking fantastic so the club is going really well.”
After expressing his love for the WA golfing scene, Long then answered the all-important question – is it ok for Western Australians to claim him as their own?
“Nah I love it!” laughed Long.
“From the moment I came over here I loved Perth. I don’t know if they can claim me as an Australian, but a West Australian — I’m totally happy with that.”
Providing of course, there’s some acknowledgement of his roots as well…
“So – yeah…a West Australian Kiwi. That’s fine by me.”