WITH the Emirates Australian Open in Sydney to be played out this year the week before the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne we can expect an exciting field for the December 5 – 8 event.
The last time the Presidents Cup was in Melbourne (2011) many of the international combatants, including now US team captain Tiger Woods, took the opportunity to acclimatise and prepare by contesting the Stonehaven Cup in Sydney.
Both then team captains, the Internationals Greg Norman and US captain Fred Couples, were among the Presidents Cup crowd to tee off at The Lakes.
The first big names to be confirmed for the 2019 Open have just been announced, with Australia’s Jason Day, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith officially bound for the Australian Golf Club.
Day, not among the eight automatic Presidents Cup qualifiers, will be hoping his Sydney plans are a further spur for Internationals captain Ernie Els (who might also put on a boot in Sydney) to make him one of his four captain’s selections.
Fresh from runs into the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs, Day, Leishman and Smith will each be attempting to win their first Stonehaven Cup.
“This is great news for golf fans around the country,” Golf Australia chief executive Stephen Pitt said.
“All three players are really popular with Aussie crowds and continue to achieve so much when representing us on the PGA Tour and in events around the world.
“It’s fantastic that they have committed to playing in front of their home crowds in what promises to be a deeply talented Australian Open this year.
“We’re really excited about the field that’s being assembled and will announce more big names in coming weeks.”
The Open will return to The Australian Golf Club for a record 21st time – and the Aussie trio can’t wait for their shot at history.
“It’s the tournament we all grew up watching and I’ve said before that I want to win a few of them, so there’s no better time to start than December,” Day said.
“I nearly got one at The Australian a couple of years ago and it’s a course that really sets up well for me.”
Leishman, who with Smith almost won the World Cup for Australia last year, always looks forward to playing in front of enthusiastic fans.
“It will be great to have the big crowds supporting us again. I know all the guys are dead keen to win the Aussie Open, so we’re all pumped to get back to Sydney.”
Smith, the dual and reigning Australian PGA champion has been 10th, fourth and runner-up the past three years, so is hell bent on taking that next step this year.
“I’ve been really close and it’s something I would love to win,” Smith said.
“I know it’s going to be a great field, plus it’s a great rush playing in front of your home crowd.”
The Emirates Australian Open is supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.
The Emirates Australian Open is a flagship tournament on the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia. The winner will receive a minimum of 32 Official World Golf Ranking points.