GREG Norman, Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy have just been announced as confirmed starters for the 2010 Australian Open.
The famous trio are the first big name players to confirm their participation in the prestigious tournament which will be played at The Lakes in Sydney from December 2 to 5.
For the second successive year the tournament will form the penultimate leg on the OneAsia Tour and offer a purse of US$1.3 million.
Norman has been in Australia in recent days looking after his various interests and here’s hoping there will be no repeat of the shoulder injury that kept him out of the event last year.
Scott is the defending champion and is back in form – touch wood – after winning the Valero Texas Open on the US PGA Tour a couple of weeks back.
Ogilvy didn’t fare too well at the Open last year at the stunning NSW Golf Club but has often expressed his strong desire to win the event.
Scott won his first Australian title claiming the Australian Open by five shots over compatriot Stuart Appleby after a tense final round.
Winning the 2009 Australian Open was one of the great highlights of my career,” Scott said today.
“Having dreamed of that moment since I was a kid it was a wonderful feeling to have Greg Norman hand me the trophy and to see my name next to the greats in golf is something to cherish.
“I’m sure this year’s Open at The Lakes will be another great event and I will be hoping to have the engraver add my name again to the Stonehaven Cup!”.
Scott’s victory in Texas was his seventh on the PGA Tour and came on a course designed by his hero Norman.
Ogilvy, the 2006 US Open champion, is still in search of his first Australian Open and is particularly looking forward to playing The Lakes course.
“As always I am looking forward to our year ending events in Australia,” he said.
“Returning to Sydney for the Australian Open at The Lakes will have special significance for me. The golf course was remodelled by Mike Clayton with whom I am forming a new golf course design company, Ogilvy Clayton Golf Design. Appreciating Mike’s design skills, I am sure the new layout will provide a fitting test for our national Open.”
Two-time Major winner Norman last lifted the Stonehaven Cup in 1996. Shoulder surgery meant he was unable to compete last year but he is excited about the prospect of returning this December.
“I look forward to my return to Sydney and my participation in the 2010 Australian Open at The Lakes. Both The Lakes as a venue and the Australian Open as a tournament are special to me in that they are both an integral part of my career,” the 55-year-old said.
Other star players will be confirmed over the coming months including a wealth of talent from OneAsia which this year boasts 11 events, offering a total of over US$12 million in prize money.
NSW Minister for Tourism Jodi McKay said tens of thousands of spectators were expected to attend the 2010 Australian Open.
“More than 30,000 visitors came for the Australian Open Golf last year, including significant numbers from overseas and interstate.
“Global golf stars like Greg Norman, defending champion Adam Scott and 2006 US Open Champion Geoff Ogilvy will guarantee another great crowd in 2010.”
The Australian Open was first played in 1904 and has been won by the biggest names in the game, including Gary Player with a record seven wins and Jack Nicklaus with six.
Stephen Pitt, Golf Australia CEO, suggests the new Lakes Golf Course design will be a great test for our national Open.
“The Australian Open is one of the most prestigious titles in world golf and fittingly, Norman, Ogilvy and Scott will lead another very strong field. The course at The Lakes will be a great and unique challenge for the players with some demanding holes mixed with some holes that offer scoring opportunities.”