Date: November 18, 2015
Author: Martin Blake

Spieth to take in the sandbelt before Open defence

Defending Emirates Australian Open champion Jordan Spieth is headed to Melbourne to sample the world famous courses of the sandbelt.

Spieth, the world No. 1 who will defend his Open crown in Sydney next week, is coming to Australia early so that he can have his first look at some of the cluster of magnificent courses in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

According to a report by Associated Press, he has booked rounds at Kingston Heath, Royal Melbourne over the next few days. So watch out for the man who has taken the game by storm in the past 12 months!

The Texan has an Australian coach, Cameron McCormack, and the reputation of the sandbelt has not passed him by. It is the courses in Melbourne, with "a style of golf that is unique to that area", and the Long Island (USA) classics like Shinnecock, that he wants to try out.

 "I've heard Kingston Heath is unbelievable," Spieth told AP this week. "And then Royal Melbourne, I hear you get on the first tee and think, 'piece of cake,' and then watch your tee shot bounce in the air. There and then Long Island (USA), the courses there, are on my bucket lists of courses I haven't played yet."

 Beyond that, Oakmont is another classic lay-out he wants to try.  "I've done pretty much everything I want to do," Spieth said. "I still haven't played Oakmont (next year's US Open). We have Royal Troon coming up. I haven't played Carnoustie. But sought after? Sand Hills in Nebraska, the (designed by Coore-Crenshaw). I've heard it's supposed to be that good, from (Ben) Crenshaw and everyone down there."

Royal Melbourne's west course, designed by Dr Alister Mackenzie, is often ranked in the top 10 courses in the world, and Kingston Heath is generally in the top 30, depending which rankings you read.

Spieth, 22, will be in Sydney by next Monday to defend his title at the Emirates Australian Open, where he closed with an amazing 63 on the final day last year to join the likes of Nicklaus, Palmer, Player, Norman, Thomson, Locke and Watson as winners of this country's most prestigious golf tournament.