Date: February 20, 2019
Author: Martin Blake

Millar’s Mexican love affair

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Matt Millar is having the week of his life.

The 42-year-old Canberra professional has earned his way in the $US10 million World Golf Championship Mexico tournament in Mexico City by finishing in the top two in the Australasian tour’s order of merit.

For Millar, it’s a God-send, a place in a field of fewer than 70 players with no cut and a minimum $US50,000 prizemoney. And needless to say, a lot more than that if he plays well.

It’s not his first appearance in a big Tour event — he played a WGC in China in 2016 and the Open Championship in 2011 — but he knew he was in “a different world” when he was picked up in a Chevy truck at the airport and spirited through Mexico City’s infamous traffic snarls to his city hotel by police motorcycles.

Millar told this week’s “Inside The Ropes” podcast:

“I’d heard the traffic was pretty bad in Mexico, and I look out the front and there’s a police bike in front and behind us. They pretty much usher you through all the traffic. It was half an hour journey, should’ve been double that. We’re driving along three-lane and four-lane roads and they’re pushing cards to the side.

“They probably had the World Golf Championship badge on the side of the truck, thinking ‘jeez it might be  Dustin Johnson or Tiger Woods in there’. They might’ve been disappointed when they saw it was me!”

The lack of a cut means he can relax and bring his game against the best this week.

“It’s more comfortable to not have to worry about that and of course there’s the big purse here, as well,” Millar said. “I don’t think it’ll change the way I play as such, but it’s more of a relief than anything. You can walk away knowing you’ve had a good week before you start.  It could be an incredible week, or it could be just a really good week.”

A 20-year tour veteran with a funky swing, Millar liked the look of the course at Club de Golf Chapultepec, which is tight.

“These guys are the best going around and they prove it week in, week out. It’ll be a challenge for me to be up there but If I get my putter going and control my ball well I think this golf course will give me a good chance.”

Queenslander Jake McLeod, the order of merit winner, is also in the field for his first WGC start. Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith are the other Aussies in the field.

Hear Millar's full interview on Inside The Ropes here: