WITH two of this coun­try’s most pres­ti­gious golf events – the Emi­rates Aus­tralian Open and the Aus­tralian PGA – still six months away, it’s likely the draw­cards for both cham­pi­onships have been signed.

With con­tracts signed and ap­pear­ance fees ne­go­ti­ated, or­gan­is­ers for both tour­na­ments should (hope­fully) start an­nounc­ing their mar­quee play­ers within the next month or so.

It is also around this time of year that you hear the odd whis­per around the traps about who will be com­ing and who won’t. Much of it you take with a grain of salt.

At the time of writ­ing, I was hear­ing Jor­dan Spi­eth was a good chance to come back to Syd­ney to de­fend his Open ti­tle at The Aus­tralian GC, where he of course won his first Stone­haven Cup in 2014.

Spi­eth has made no se­cret of the fact he loves com­ing to the Har­bour City for the Open and he would be warmly wel­comed back by the Syd­ney gal­leries.

It is also likely Adam Scott will be lead­ing the Aus­tralian charge at both tour­na­ments, while PGA Tour play­ers Cameron Smith, Marc Leish­man and Aaron Bad­de­ley should be among the starters for at least one of the two events.

Un­for­tu­nately it is un­likely we’ll see Ja­son Day again this sum­mer as he will prob­a­bly re­main in the United States while his mum con­tin­ues her treat­ment for lung can­cer.

Hope­fully we will see more name play­ers from the Euro­pean Tour tee­ing it up in Syd­ney and/or the Gold Coast. Al­though, any big name player can­not play in both tour­na­ments be­cause the con­trac­tual ar­range­ments set out by state govern­ment tourism bod­ies, who pay the ap­pear­ance money, usu­ally have an ‘ex­clu­sive clause’.

For the first time in many years, the Open does not clash with the Euro­pean Tour’s lu­cra­tive sea­son-end­ing DP World Tour Cham­pi­onship in Dubai.

That event will fin­ish on Novem­ber 19, with the Aus­tralian Open start­ing in Syd­ney a few days later. Then it will be straight on to the PGA, which is a Euro­pean Tour co-sanc­tioned tour­na­ment.

So, who should Golf Aus­tralia and the PGA of Aus­tralia have on their re­spec­tive shop­ping lists?

With the ex­cep­tion of Spi­eth, and per­haps Harold Varner III who will be de­fend­ing his PGA ti­tle, most Amer­i­can Tour play­ers won’t want to travel too far from home lead­ing into Thanks­giv­ing. This means the shop­ping lists should be dom­i­nated by Euro­pean Tour or Amer­i­can-based Euro­pean golfers.

I think Mas­ters Cham­pion Sergio Gar­cia would love to come back to Aus­tralia with his new bride and get paid for it. With a game well-suited to The Aus­tralian, the Spa­niard would be a great ad­di­tion to the depth of tal­ent chal­leng­ing for the ti­tle and is a gen­uine crowd-puller. The same could be said for his com­pa­triot Jon Rahm, who at­tracted plenty of at­ten­tion when he played the World Cup in Mel­bourne last Novem­ber.

I’d also like to see An­drew ‘Beef’ John­ston play out here. I fol­lowed him at the Open Cham­pi­onship at Royal Troon last year and I’ve never seen a Tour player so gen­uinely thrilled to play in front of a crowd. And the gal­leries sensed that, which is no doubt why he at­tracted so many fans over the four days of the tour­na­ment. What do you think? Who would you like to see play in Aus­tralia this sum­mer? Let me know via email bjames@gol­faus­tralia.com.au and we’ll pub­lish your thoughts in an up­com­ing is­sue of Golf Aus­tralia.


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