Aussie big guns ‘pumped’ for home Open
The big guns are back at the Australian Open with three of the country's best golfers to compete in Sydney in December.
Jason Day, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith will all tee up in Sydney from December 5-8 when the Open returns to The Australian Golf Club for a record 20th time.
"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.
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"I nearly got it at The Australian a couple of years ago and it's a course that really sets up well for me."
This year's Open is set to boast one of the best fields in years with the tournament being held a week before the Presidents Cup.
Organisers are confident of securing most of the 12 players selected for the International Team with Leishman, Smith and Day, who just missed automatic selection but is a certainty to be selected by the team captain Ernie Els, just the first trickle of what is expected to be a flood of big-name signings.
"It's fantastic that they have committed to playing in front of their home crowd in what promises to be a deeply talented Australian Open this year," Golf Australia chief executive Stephen Pitt said.
"We're really excited about the field that's being assembled and will announce more big names in coming weeks."
Australia's only Masters champion Adam Scott has qualified automatically for the International Team and is also expected to sign on the dotted line. Scott won the Australian Open in 2009.
Like Day, neither Leishman or Smith has won the tournament yet so both are desperate to get their names engraved on the Stonehaven Cup.
"I know all the guys are dead keen to win the Aussie Open, so we're all pumped to get back to Sydney," Leishman said.
Smith came within a whisker of winning the title at Royal Sydney two years ago only to lose out to American superstar Jordan Spieth in a three-way playoff.
"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 return of the top Australians is a huge boost for a tournament which is one of the oldest in the world and boasts an honour roll that includes the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Peter Thomson, Greg Norman and Gene Sarazen.
It has struggled in recent years to recruit the biggest names because of the massive prize money on the U.S. PGA Tour with last year's Australian Open won by Abraham Ancer.
The Mexican was little known at the time but has since gone on to reach 37th in the world rankings to earn himself an automatic spot in the Internationals Team for the Presidents Cup.
Tickets go on sale through Ticketek next week.