SIX Aussie golfers carry the nation’s hopes this week as the 148th Open Championship graces Northern Ireland for the first time in 68 years.
Back in 1951 it was flamboyant English golfer Max Faulkner who lifted the Claret Jug when the championship ventured to Royal Portrush on its initial foray.
A lot has changed in golf – and elsewhere – in those almost seven decades, but the love of golf fans around the world for the annual pageantry that is the Open Championship is probably one of the constants.
This year we have the maybe not so flamboyant Francesco Molinari defending the title he won at Carnoustie 12 months ago against a fascinating field.
Lots of eyes and hearts will be focused on “local” favourites Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell; we have three time champion and current Masters champion Tiger Woods, who seems to have been lying very low of late; modern day Major-winning machine Brooks Koepka; and any number of other top golfers who could make a featured run at the title.
Then there is those six Aussies:
Australian Tee Times at the 2019 Open Championship
Adam Scott will be the first Aussie to grace Portrush with his 9:58am local time (6:58 pm AEST) tee time on Thursday.
Scott has had some (hearbreakingly) close chances in his time and has been in some encouraging form lately. As always, much of it is about that putting. He’ll be accompanied in the first two rounds by defending champ Molinari as well as the idiosyncratic Bryson Dechambeau.
New South Welshman Dimi Papadatos will begin his major career at 11:58am local time (8:58pm AEST) alongside American Joel Dahmen and Spaniard Adri Arnaus.
24-year-old Queenslander Jake McLeod will also be making his major debut on Thursday, teeing off at 12:20pm (9:20pm AEST) with fellow European Tour pros Erik Van Rooyen and Kurt Kitayama for company.
Marc Leishman is another Aussie with some Open Championship scarring and will be flanked by some others with major scarring in Masters champions Jordan Spieth and Danny Willett. They’re in the 1:26 pm (10:26pm AEST) grouping.
Cameron Smith has the talent to put in a show stopping performance and after just a day decided Portrush was his favourite Open venue – he’s played at just two others. Smith gets his chance at 1:37pm (10:37pm AEST) alongside Canadian Adam Hadwin and the USA’s David Lipsky.
Finally we have Jason Day, who should at least get lots of TV coverage when he bats at 2:59pm local time (11:59pm AEST) with fellow major winners Dustin Johnson and Keegan Bradley.
The first round afternoon field will include a plethora of stars including Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Jon Rahm. See full tee time details here.