DAVIS’ DESPERATE DASH TO DEFEND
Amidst announcements that Australia’s highest ranked players won’t be teeing it up at The Lakes, the news that Cameron Davis is returning to Australia to defend his 2017 title came as welcome news for tournament organisers. The New South Welshman is set to arrive directly from the PGA Tour’s event in Mexico and skip another of the crucial early season events for newly minted Tour members like himself.
“At this stage in my career it’s very tough to give up any starts out there,” Davis exclusively told Golf Australia magazine of missing the RSM Classic. “It’s been what you’ve sort of been working towards your whole life to get to the point where you’ve got plenty of them lined up in front of you. But for me it wasn’t too difficult a decision.
“I mean first of all just playing in Australia in front of a home crowd, I don’t get the opportunity too often throughout the year … But also, defending a tournament like that. It would be pretty hard to give up an opportunity like that.”
Davis’ excitement as he prepares to defend a tournament for the first time as a professional is understandable. But the 23-year-old, who rose almost 1,400 spots in the world rankings in less than 12 months, is aware that teeing it up in his national Open will be a very different prospect this time around. While the lack of some of the biggest names in Australian golf won’t take any shine off the event for Davis.
“I can imagine early in the week there’s going to be a little bit more going on, I’m probably not going to be quite as quiet,” he said. “This is the position I’ve always wanted to be in, it means that I’ve done well and I’ve got the opportunity to do well again. I’m excited about it. I’m not nervous at all.
“It would be very cool to play against those guys (Adam Scott, Jason Day and Marc Leishman), especially back home, but I’m sure they’ve all got very good reasons why they’re not playing. So I can’t be disappointed or angry about it because they’ve got their own lives to live as well.
“The fact that they aren’t there this year, obviously it’s a few big names that won’t be competing, but there’s still going to be a strong field and you need to play your best golf if you want to get over the line.”
Despite the dearth of local superstars, the field has been boosted by the inclusion of a number of Americans, including Matt Kuchar, Keegan Bradley and Brandt Snedeker, who have all spent time inside the top-10 in the world rankings during their career.
Bradley and Snedeker, runner-up to Craig Parry at The Australian in 2007, are both 2018 PGA Tour winners and should be installed as two of the favourites, while Kuchar sits 13th on the PGA Tour’s career earnings list.
Of the local players, Cameron Smith will be chief among Davis’ challengers. The Queenslander is set to tee it up at the Open, World Cup and Australian PGA, where he will defend and be joined by Davis, who plans on following in his namesake’s footsteps going forward when it comes to supporting tournaments at home.
“I want to make a point of coming back home every year. I’ve grown up just wanting to be a part of that golf tournament (the Australian Open) and the Australian PGA as well,” Davis said.
“I feel like it’s pretty cool to play in front of friends and family, and playing in your home Open there’s something about it, I just want to be a part of it.”
Cameron Davis will forgo a PGA Tour start to defend his title won at The Australian in 2017.