This week I am at the Emirates Australian Open. I popped in for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon to pick up my media accreditation and get an overview of where everything is.
This year the event is being held at Royal Sydney and from what I have seen of the course so far, I am impressed. Previously I have only ever seen it through the fence from Woollahra Golf Club, where I have played half a dozen times.
Upon arrival yesterday, I spotted Zach Murray and his caddy Oscar and was absolutely delighted. I stopped for a chat as if he was here it meant he pre qualified earlier that day and he in fact shot -6 and was the first qualifier from Carnavon Golf Club. He missed the cut in the NSW Open last week and I look forward to watching him play some great golf out here at Royal Sydney.
I had a couple of hours this morning before the scheduled press conferences so I set up my lap top and headed out towards the range. I stopped and listened to a group of volunteers have a meeting about the run of the hole they were allocated. It is quite the coordinated dance to run an event of this size and I am always impressed with the event.
I watched a bit of warm up on the range before I made my way to the first tee watching the practice rounds start. I got chatting with a gentlemen , Pat, about golf and I was telling him about the juniors we (Fairways) have sponsored in Canada. He asked where and when I told him PEI he exclaimed “I am from PEI”.
Pat was born in Charlottetown and returns to PEI each summer and we had a great chat about golf, island life and of course, the amazing seafood.
I then headed to the media centre and sat in on the press conferences with Trevor Herden (Tournament Director) Ogilvy, Spieth and Pampling. For Ogilvy the strategy for Royal Sydney is to “keep it out of the bunkers” and Spieth believes it will be all about the wind.
Spieth also talked about things besides golf – the Dallas Cowboys and his brother who is playing awesome college basketball at the moment.
There is a great field of experienced professionals however I think it will be all about the amateurs. I have watched some of them play and there is nothing amateurish about them. There seems to be so much depth and talent with the likes of Luck, Coletta, Endycott, Lee, Murray and Syme. I am going to ensure I watch all of these players sometime during the week.
Today I was watching MinWoo Lee on the range and wow can he hit a ball. I had a chat to him about his sister Minjee who I was impressed with after watching her at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open. Earlier this year MinWoo Lee won the USGA Junior Championship, just as his sister before him (in 2012). The Lees are the first brother and sister to win the championships.
I also caught up with a few golfers I met last year, Antonio Murdaca and Nabil Abdul who are both very pleased to be back here playing. Particularly Murdaca who was on the bag last week at the NSW Open and he would much rather be swinging not passing a club.
I had a good golf chat with Ben Ikin who is caddying for Matthew Guyatt this week. He works for Foxsports and wanted to know all about Fairways and we will no doubt speak again before the week is through.
I was back to the media centre for a bit and caught up with Robbie from RJ Golf / Social Golf Australia who was Matthew Guyatt’s caddy at the NSW Open.
I reconnected with some of the fabulous folk I met last year in the media centre and look forward to a week filled with golf.
I had a brief chat with the boys from Taylormade and Super Stroke as they sorted supplies for the players before attending the junior clinic for the MyGolf juniors which was run by Golf Australia.
Curtis Luck and Todd Sinnott were running the clinic and had a great golf chat with the kids, inspiring them to practice more before impressing them with their precision wielding a club.
This is going to be a great week of golf and my only problem is I have to watch.
I am a little twitchy as I have now only watched golf for the last 9 days – I want to play.