THE 102nd Australian Open gets underway Thursday at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney with a quality field headed by Jason Day and Jordan Spieth.
The two main contenders were full of praise for each other at their separate news conferences Wednesday ahead of the battle but there is plenty of other golfing talent teeing it up who could spoil the party.
“I would love to play with Spieth on Sunday … last group. That would be the greatest thing,’’ said Day, who returns to his national championship for the first time in four years.
Spieth, two time winner and defending champion, was equally magnanimous.
“We’ve had some great battles,’’ the American said. “The 2015 season … any time I threw up something one week, I’d think I had an advantage on him in the player of the year race, I’d think I had it locked up and all of a sudden it goes to the last tournament.’’
The pair have been spending a bit of time together this week, particularly chatting extensively at the tournament cocktail party.
“Honestly it’s fun because you talk about it with each other, how you’re feeling, the respect you have for each other’s games and seasons,’’ said Spieth.
Other contenders taking to the immaculately prepared Australian GC course include past champions such as Matt Jones, Geoff Ogilvy and Greg Chalmers, rising stars such as Cameron Smith and Curtis Luck, and even top amateurs like Win Wu Lee, younger brother of Minjee.
For those able to get to the course the live action begins at 6.45am Thursday with live television coverage on the Seven Network beginning at 12pm (AEDT).
Day tees off in the first round at 7.05am alongside Ogilvy and Rod Pampling, whilst Spieth has the afternoon shift, beginning at 12.10pm accompanied by Smith and Jones – and no doubt a sizeable crowd.