Date: July 31, 2008
Author: John Clark

Appleby puts Open failure behind him

Stuart Appleby will finally lay the ghosts of Royal Birkdale to rest this week. The veteran Australian was 14 shots from winner Padraig Harrington at the British Open in July. His 17-over-par performance was far from the worst, but the conditions he confronted at Southport left him longing for the more serene US courses he has made home. “I think we all eradicated them with some local brew,” Appleby said of the struggles at Birkdale. “I don&apost think we could get to a pub quick enough or look for the fridge wherever we might have been staying.” “That was a week where really, only a handful of people remembered it as an experience that they&aposd behold.” “The rest of the time Mother Nature was tearing us apart, made us look like real hacks.” Appleby will tee off at the World Golf Championship Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio on Friday morning (AEST). It will be the amiable Aussie&aposs 29th WGC appearance and the course has him keen to make it a memorable one. “I&aposd say it is the best condition I have ever seen it, it&aposs just perfect,” Appleby said. “The greens are as quick as any course we have ever played, including Augusta. It is in the best shape you could ever ask of a golf course.” Forty-seven of the world&aposs top-50 players are in the field this week. Tiger Woods, who has won the tournament six times, is missing again due to a knee injury. But Appleby believes there&aposs no shortage of talent. “This type of field anybody can (win). We&aposve had all sorts of players do well here,” he said. “It&aposs a world event, certainly has the world&aposs players. There&aposs been Australians, the English, there has been one American doing pretty good.” “You wouldn&apost look at a true form horse around here and say he is going to do well. I think this is a world-class course and players set themselves up to play well here.” “There will be no surprises.” The event will not have a midway cut with players competing in all four rounds, something that has pleased Appleby&aposs compatriot Craig Parry. “It&aposs fantastic. I can actually make my Sunday night flight reservation before I come here,” Parry said. “It&aposs nice to play in a tournament where there is no cut. You can just go out and play and see what score you can come up with.”