Date: October 13, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes

Westwood, Clarke commit to Australian Open

A past champion and a major winner are the latest players to commit to the Emirates Australian Open field.

Former winner Lee Westwood and Open Championship hero Darren Clarke will join defending champ and world No.1 Jordan Spieth and local hero Adam Scott in the elite field at The Australian Golf Club from November 26-29.

Westwood, a former world No.1 and one of the most prolific international winners of his generation, sprung to international prominence when he won the 1997 Australian Open at Melbourne’s Metropolitan Golf Club.

The Englishman fended off challenges from Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson to finish tied with five-time Australian Open winner Greg Norman at 14 under, then outduelled the “Great White Shark” on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff to become the first European to lift the Stonehaven Cup – a post he held alone until Rory McIlroy followed suit in 2013.

“Obviously I have a lot of great memories of the Australian Open so I am really excited to be heading there again,” said Westwood, a perennial at the top end of the world rankings.

“We all enjoy playing in Australia because of the standard of the courses, the knowledgeable fans and the great weather. It is also a really strong field again this year so it will be a superb spectacle.”

Westwood, 42, has proven himself a true global player since his Australian Open win with victories in the United States, Europe, Japan, on the Asian and South Africa’s Sunshine Tour during a glittering career that has yielded 42 professional titles and a staggering 17 top-10 finishes in major championships.

He also boasts a wonderful Ryder Cup record, representing Europe nine times for seven victories, five times a teammate of his good mate, Clarke.

Clarke, 47, the incoming European Ryder Cup captain, famously won the Open Championship at Royal St George’s in 2011, but he’s no stranger to Australia, either. A popular figure wherever he plays, the Northern Irishman has won 14 times on the European Tour.

“The Australian Open has a wonderful history and has been won by many of the game’s greatest players and with the likes of Lee, Jordan and Adam playing this November, we are in for a real treat,” Clarke said.

Golf Australia’s tournament director Trevor Herden was thrilled with the addition of both players for the final event on OneAsia’s 2015 schedule.

“Darren is an extremely entertaining player and engages with the fans and is always good value to have around the tournament,” Herden said.

“Lee is one of the most successful players of this era, including having won our national championship before. He is one of the best ball-strikers and most consistent players in the world, so we can’t wait to see if he can get his hands on a second Stonehaven Cup.”

NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events and Minister for Sport, Stuart Ayres said it would be great to see Westwood and Clarke in Sydney in November.

“Lee and Darren are both legends of the game and form part of a world-class field of golfers at this year’s Australian Open,” Mr Ayres said.

“The NSW Government is proud to have secured this event for Sydney through our tourism and major events agency Destination NSW; and with players such as Lee, Darren, Australian champion Adam Scott and current world No.1 Jordan Spieth, it promises to attract visitors from all over the globe to our state.”

The championship is owned by Golf Australia and is managed by Lagardere Sports with the assistance of TRP Sports.

The 2015 Emirates Australian Open, the 100th staging of the national championship, will be played at The Australian Golf Club from November 26-29.

The Emirates Australian Open is a flagship tournament on the PGA Tour of Australasia. The winner will receive a minimum of 32 Official World Golf Ranking points.

The event will be telecast for all four days on Channel 7. 

Tickets are on sale now from Ticketek at www.ticketek.comor by calling 132 849.


Twitter: #AusOpenGolf