Eight Aussies are in the field of the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
A surprisingly small contingent of Australian golfers are teeing it up at Royal Liverpool this week at the 2014 Open Championship.
There are the obvious selections from the modern generation of Australian golf such as Adam Scott and Jason Day. A few surprise, relative unknowns who gained entry via Australian Open qualification such as Rhein Gibson and Bryden MacPherson. But the eight Aussies in the field are notable for the absence of the older generation of Australian golfers who are standard attendees at the world’s oldest major.
There is no Stuart Appleby – who lost a playoff at The Open in 2002, no Robert Allenby – who has five Top-25 finishes at The Open and most surprisingly no Geoff Ogilvy who seems to have lost his game completely. No Peter Senior, no Richard Green, no Craig Parry and no Rod Pampling.
We are officially in a different era of Australian golf now. New names, new faces and a much better chance of actually winning major championships.
Ahead of The Open each year, I worry that Adam Scott hasn’t played enough tournament golf but each year his form if good enough to win it. So let’s just dismiss those concerns and assume Scotty will be back in contention going into the final round this week. He’s been practising at Royal Liverpool for a few days now, and the bookies have him at equal favourite with Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy.
Scott finished 8th in 2006, the last time The Open was at Hoylake. Eight shots behind winner, Tiger Woods. He deserves the Claret Jug but will the golfing gods permit him to drink from it on Sunday evening?
The Open is the only major that Jason Day has yet to record a top-10 finish but like Scotty, he somehow rises to the big occasion. Day showed he has the game to win on a course where creative shots are required when he won the World Cup at Royal Melbourne and should he be thereabouts on Sunday, he will be familiar with big-time pressure.
Rhein Gibson was one of the three Aussies who qualified for The Open by finishing in the top-3 players (not already exempt) at the 2013 Australian Open (pictured above). But Gibson is most well-known for shooting the lowest round of golf ever, a 16-under par 55.
MacPherson also qualified for The Open courtesy of his fourth place finish at the 2013 Australian Open. At just 23-years, this will be MacPherson’s first major as a professional but second Open after he qualified to play in 2011 at Royal St.George’s as an amateur. Despite some decent results on the PGA Tour china this year, this will really test him this week.
Matt Jones is 38th on the Fed Ex Cup rankings but his form since his fantastic win at the Houston Open (right) hasn’t been great. He missed the cut at the US Open and Masters Tournament, and Jones will be struggling to do better this week at Hoylake.
Leish was travelling along nicely through May and June until an odd missed cut at the Greenbrier Classic a few weeks ago. Leishman may have had his mind on the Open where he hasn’t made the cut in his last two attempts. I’d love to see Leishman in contention on Sunday but he just needs a confident start to believe he can be a threat.
You would think John Senden would be a decent chance of at last a Top-25 finish at The Open, but his seven appearances he’s never done it – having only ever made the cut four times. Sendo has been the best overall Aussie golfers on the PGA tour this year playing some really great golf this year along with some erratic stuff. Given the recent inconsistencies and his poor links golf performances, it’s hard to make a positive prediction for Sendo this week.
Rumford is having a shocking time of it on the fairways at the moment and has only made the one cut in his last six European Tour events. Not surprisingly it’s Rummy’s driver that is letting him down and a British Open isn’t the place to have an erratic tee shot.