The whirlwind that was the short and crazy summer of Australian golf is now firmly in the past. The dust that swirled around Tiger’s group as he stalked the fairways of Kingston Heath now firmly settled, unlike his private life.
Most people agree that the money paid to get the world number one in Australia was well spent with the Victorian government estimating $34 million was poured into the local economy, well above the pre-tournament expectations of $19 million.
The question over whether this will stimulate the Australian golf tournaments remains. What are the incentives for more of the world’s top golfers to play golf in Australia?
The OneAsia Tour, if run correctly will help greatly and it appears tour organisers are on the right track but Geoff Ogilvy’s win in Kapalua last weekend may have done more for Australian golf in the short term.
It has taken a while but many golf experts from across the US were asking why the Australians do so well at Kapalua and at the early season tournaments.
Australia golfers don’t really get an off season as most come back to play in our national tournaments. Combined with the fact that the weather in Australia is very Hawaii then things start to make sense.
Nick Faldo mentioned these factors during the telecast last weekend and the Larry Dorman at the NY Times also reported similar observations along with further comments from Geoff Ogilvy highlighting the differences in the general PGA Tour courses:
With wind, climate and sloping terrain similar to Australia, Kapalua may become the same kind of annuity for Ogilvy that it was for his fellow Australian Stuart Appleby, who won three straight here from 2004 to 2006. Ogilvy was a combined seven over par in his first two appearances here in 2006 and 2007. After shooting 46 under in his two victories, Ogilvy said he was beginning to feel at home.
“You rarely shoot straight at the pins in Australia, much the same as here,” Ogilvy said. “Much of the time you use the slopes to work the ball toward the hole. I feel like now I may have figured it out.
Maybe the idea of playing in Australia to fine tune the game during the “off-season” may become more appealing to PGA Tour professionals who are looking to get the next year off to a good start.
Winning early in the season must surely take the pressure off for the rest of the year. Besides, who would want to spend Christmas in the cold anyway?
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