Date: September 04, 2012

Grant Report – Stars, Veterans & former Champions boost Open field

Former champion, world stars and a popular and legendary veteran are all set to tee off in this year’s Australian Open at The Lakes in December.

World No 6 Adam Scott, eight-time major champion Tom Watson, defending champion Greg Chalmers and former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy are the first of the marquee names to confirm they will be play in the Open from December 6-9.

Scott, Australia’s top-ranked international and winner of the Australian Championship in 2009, will play after a standout year highlighted by his heart-stopping runner-up finish to Ernie Els at the British Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes.

Watson won the Australian Open at Royal Melbourne in 1984 and returns to the tournament for the first time in nearly 30 years. The popular American holds five British titles, two US Masters and one US Open.

Chalmers and Ogilvy will be back at The Lakes looking to repeat their recent successes with Chalmers hunting a third Stonehaven Cup following his thrilling one stroke win over John Senden in 2011.

Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt said the field was coming together very well and would have some real attractions for golf fans.

“It’s fantastic to welcome back these four past winners of the Stonehaven Cup to the Emirates Australian Open. Tom is one of the household names in world golf and we can’t wait to have he, Adam, Geoff and defending champion Greg back in action at The Lakes,” Pitt said.

“It’s the pinnacle week in Australian golf and things are continuing to shape up really well for the Championship.” He said there would be further player announcements as the countdown to the event continued.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events George Souris welcomed the news of the champions playing in Sydney.

“The NSW Government through Destination NSW is pleased to support the Emirates Australian Open which is a key international sports event on the NSW Events Calendar,” he said.”

"Our city is synonymous with the Australian Open, having hosted the inaugural championship in 1904, on 36 occasions overall and continuously since 2006.

“This year’s Emirates Australian Open has all the makings of another fantastic tournament which will assist the NSW Government to achieve its goal of doubling overnight visitor expenditure in NSW by 2010,” Minister Souris said.

The Australian Open is again co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia and OneAsia, with the PGA of Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Brian Thorburn again welcoming the opportunity for the tournament to showcase the Asian region.

“The Emirates Australian Open is a significant tournament for both the PGA Tour of Australasia and OneAsia, and will be broadcast to over 400 million homes internationally," Thorburn said. "We look forward to welcoming not only our own players, but also Asia’s best to The Lakes in December for yet another memorable tournament.”

By: Rob Grant