Michael Clayton – Horse for the Course – Adam Scott there isn&apost a course he can&apost handle better than anyone else right now. Royal Sydney is typical Australian golf. It will be firm unless the recent rains continue and it is bound to be windy at least for part of the week.It always is in Sydney.Scott has proved at Augusta and Lytham he can handle a wide variety of conditions under the severest of pressure – Sleeper – Matt Jones back from a tremendous year in America when he re-established himself on that tour. – Winner – It&aposs too predictable to pick Scott and surely by The Open he will have been worn out by the pressure of the past three weeks and the adulation of the country. I go with-Geoff Ogilvy. You can&apost hit as well as Ogilvy and continue to put in relatively poor results. He was decent at Royal Melbourne in the Masters and second in the 2007 Royal Sydney Open won by with John Sendon with two brilliant shots at the end. John Huggan – Horse for the Course – The first time I ever saw Rory McIlroy in the flesh he was a young amateur playing in the Australian Open at Royal Sydney. He missed the cut, but even then you could tell how good this young man was going to be. He hasn&apost been back to the course since, but he will have plenty of motivation to do well at a place and event that was good to him on the way up. – Sleeper – Marcus Fraser is one of the few Aussies still plying his trade on the European Tour. He is also one of the most consistent performers on that circuit. And on a Royal Sydney course where prodigious length is not an overwhelming a factor in success or failure, the smooth-swingng Melburnian will surely be a factor. He&aposll be there or thereabouts. – Winner – Masters champion Adam Scott is the obvious pick. But it is asking a lot of even one so gifted to hold the form that has already seen him win the Australian PGA and Masters titles. After three weeks at home, mental tiredness in the face of a seemingly never-ending plethora of demands on his time might just catch up with the game&aposs second-best player. So Jason Day it has to be. Relatively fresh and acclimatised after a week in Melbourne at the World Cup of Golf, the world number 18 is the man to beat. Peter Stone – Horse for the Course – Let s make that plural. Mat Goggin, though he languished on the web.com tour in the US this year, and failed to regain his card to the big time, lost the playoff to South African Tim Clark last time round at Royal Sydney in 2008. Lost his way a bit, but class player on his game. Also Robert Alllenby, winner at RS in 1994, and one shot out of playoff in 08. – Sleeper – Put John Senden in the former category as well, but he is the real sleeper in the field for he invariably slips under the radar. No-one paid him any attention at Royal Sydney in 2006, that is until he finished birdie, birdie for a one-shot win over Geoff Ogilvy. He has been marvelously consistent in the US for years now but his putting does not do justice to his marvelous iron play. – Winner – Logically on form and patriotism, you can t go past either Adam Scott or Jason Day, but let s go out on a limb and suggest former world No 1 Rory McIroy who was tied sixth in the HSBC Champions event in China recently with real glimpses of his 2012 form that saw him claim the PGA Championship and three other PGA Tour events and the world No 1 ranking along the way. Martin Blake – Horse for the Course – John Senden (Qld) won here in 2006, is usually prominent in Australian Opens, and has overcome injuries that troubled him in America. Likes the narrow fairways of Royal Sydney. – Sleeper – Geoff Ogilvy (Vic) had a putt for a playoff here in 2006, and remains world class if he can find some range with the putter. Showed some good signs at the Australian Masters. – Winner – Adam Scott (Qld) has gone to another level, which may be stating the obvious. So long as fatigue does not overcome him in his fourth straight tournament, he is the one to beat. Michael Green (Aussie Golfer) – Horse for the Course – We&aposve been waiting a long time for Geoff Ogilvy to win again and Royal Sydney could be the place where he does it. He finished well at the Australian Masters and has always done well in past Opens at Royal Sydney. – Sleeper – Greg Chalmers will fly under the radar this week with most of the attention on Scott, Day and McIlroy, but it would be unwise to rule the 2011 champion out. Chalmers decent form on the PGA Tour and will relish being back on home soil. – Winner – Adam Scott played one bad hole at the World Cup, where by his own admission he was “away with the fairies”. It&aposs an obvious choice but Scott will be keen to finish the year off on a high and take the triple-crown. Bruce Young – Horse for the Course – John Senden is a previous winner of this event at Royal Sydney and after a very disappointing year appears to be playing a little better of late. He finished 4th in Georgia three weeks ago so may put his liking of the Royal Sydney layout to good use. – Sleeper – Marcus Fraser has put together several good tournaments of late and although he has yet to win a flagship event at home he is a good enough player to do so. – Winner – It is a bit hard to go past the obvious tournament favourite Adam Scott. He might be under the pressure of expectation and he might be fatigued but the quality of his golf over the last few weeks has been simply stunning including last week when one hole effectively cost him the tournament. Scott finished 5th at Royal Sydney in 2006 when nowhere near the player he is now.
Author: Golf Australia