By Larry Canning
So who’s in the run on team for The Australian Open?
Brandt Snedeker, the affable American whose last trip down under resulted in 84 hits in the first round of the Aussie PGA and a rather badly missed cut is back to repair the damage. Mind you, since Sneds signed for 84 and quietly slipped out the back of the locker room at Royal Pines he has redeemed himself to the tune of 25 shots by recently joining the exclusive 59 club. Golf’s version of Dr Chris Brown will tee it up in the Australian Open.
Just when you think you have one of the truly nice blokes in Snedeker, along comes another and maybe even nicer dude, Matt Kucher. I reckon you’d need a play-off to separate the two. Imagine how that would go. “You hit first Matty and by the way, you look great in those new pants” “No, you go ahead Brandt… actually just pick up your ball, I’ll concede buddy. See you down at the movies tonight? I heard Finding Nemo 4 is on.”
“Kuuuch” as he is affectionately known by golf fans all over the world, will not only be seen at The Lakes for our National Open but also representing America in the World Cup the following week. His demeanour is one thing but watching him strike a golf ball is akin to sitting behind Robin Hood while he slots another arrow into the bull’s eye in the annual Nottingham District Championships.
Another American Tour winner will be joining his compatriots at The Lakes. Keegan Bradley is more famous for his weird pre-shot routine which is a combination of standing behind the ball swaying back and forth like a South American Rocking Chameleon and a stare that would frighten the life out of Connor McGregor. He also gains my nomination for the PGA Tour Player most likely to snot Miguel Angel Jimenez. But the former US PGA Champ can play and he will be showing us just how well when he tees it up in a bid to claim the Stonehaven Cup.
As they say… “At the time of writing/typing”, last year’s Champ, Cam Davis wasn’t confirmed to be a starter but the word is he’s a good chance to defend. Since stunning the likes of world number 1’s Jordan Speith and Jason Day last year, (After becoming a Grand Father in June I’ve realised how bad being referred to as a “Number 1” can sound. And why the world’s best work so hard not to be a “Number 2”). My God I dribble on don’t I? Anyway, Cam has proven his liquid smooth golf swing isn’t merely capable of a one hit wonder. A win on the ultra-competitive Web.com Tour and resulting PGA tour card at the age of 23 proved to everyone he is on the verge of something very special.
As is always the case there will be a bunch of young Aussies taking dead aim at our superstar guests. Obviously last year it was all about Cameron Davis and that extraordinary final round of 64 which ripped the Cup out of the waiting hands of Matt Jones, Jonas Blixt and Cam Smith. If you recall, there was another youngster named Lucas Herbert who was generating some serious hype. I called the last round of the re-born NSW Open the week before on radio and watched Herbert, Danny Nisbet and eventual winner Jason Scrivener in the final group.
Herbert’s game is what can best be described as ….HUGE! After a terrific domestic season the tall Victorian took his HUGE talent to Europe and easily secured full playing rights on the Continent for next season. Danny Nisbet isn’t actually a shrinking violet either. He’s doesn’t play a golf course he assaults it! It’s a wonder he hasn’t been put on a restraining order from a golf course somewhere. It’s actually brilliant to watch as long as you don’t stand too close and get sucked into his vortex. Danny is currently leading the Australasian Order of Merit after winning the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open earlier in the year and claiming the NT PGA just a month or so ago.
So mark my words readers, don’t just assume the overseas stars are going to have it all their own way. This year will definitely see yet another young Aussie showing absolutely no respect for reputations and be ready to seize the moment.
See you at The Lakes, kids.