Greg Chalmers plucked up the courage to write to Tom Watson recently and asked for advice about his game. But this week, the Australian will compete against Watson as he attempts to defend his Emirates Australian Open title and they will play together in the opening two rounds at The Lakes, starting Thursday. Chalmers, the 39-year-old Western Australian left-hander, has taken the view he needs to soak up information as he tries to maintain his status as a world class player. Previously, he was too shy to ask. But the US PGA Tour professional played a practice round with the 63-year-old Watson in America recently and penned a letter to the eight-time major championship winner. I have gone on a bit of quest in the last couple of years, Chalmers told a media conference at The Lakes today. I was shy when I was younger. I did not have the guts to ask people questions. I was fortunate enough to have dinner with Byron Nelson before he passed away a few years ago. That was when I clued in the idea that I needed to talk to people. I spoke to Tom, I spoke to Nick Price this year, Paul Azinger. I&aposd love to chat to Greg Norman. I hope I get the opportunity next week. It’s tough. You want to ask the questions but you almost want to sit them on a couch. It is like a psychology thing sometimes. It can be uncomfortable if they don&apost want to answer the questions or you don;t want to ask them. I wanted to get into Tom&aposs head a bit and find out if I was on the right path. The game comes very easily to some people. I think he is one of them. Watson was forthcoming. He is a famously genial man. I asked him what he things about when he plays, said Chalmers. He said he has had the same backswing thought for 18 years. The game is very simple for Tom. I had 10 thoughts getting out of my car this morning. Some people find it easier than others.
Chalmers likes The Lakes; he won his second national Open title last year at this course. Like all Australian players, getting his name on the Stonehaven Cup was high on his list of priorities. It is very personal, he said. When you win an event like this, you have your own small piece of that history. Growing up in this country and watching it as a kid, you have it on a pedestal. There are the majors and then you want to win your nation&aposs Open. Given the history we&aposve had with so many great players coming from our country, you want you piece of that. I have two now. Last year was really special for me. Watson s visit is his first to Australia for some years, although he has played in this country many times since his first tournament at Victoria in 1967. He also played the 1984 Australian Open. I&aposm coming in here feeling pretty good about my golf game. The problem is my 63-year-old body has a cold and little jet lag, he said.