Golf Australia

Eight Aussies take on Bethpage Black

Adam Scott
Adam Scott was third in the PGA last year. Image: Getty

 

Eight Australians will tee it up in the year’s second major, the US PGA Championship, at Bethpage State Park in New York this week.

The regulars – Jason Day, Adam Scott, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith – will be joined by European Tour star Lucas Herbert, Japan Tour dominator Brendan Jones, and American-based club professionals Stuart Deane and Craig Hocknull in the field.

Leishman is returning from a recent scare with a back injury and possibly it will be the relative veteran Scott, who was third in this tournament last year, who holds the best hope of the Australians. The Queenslander has had three top-10 finishes already this season.

Herbert, 23, is playing just his third major having played brilliantly last year on the European Tour, while Deane and New Guinea-born Hocknull are among the group of 20 PGA professionals who earned a start in the field.

The tough Bethpage Black course, host for the 2002 and 2009 US Open championships, presents as a significant challenge for the players although it is unlikely to be set up as brutally by the American PGA as it was by the USGA at the previous Opens. In 2002 when Tiger Woods won there, he was the only player to break par.

It is the appearance of Masters champion Woods that will create much of the interest in New York this week, and the 15-time major winner pronounced himself “rested and ready” having skipped all the tournaments since Augusta National, where he reignited his chase for Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.

Woods, who has been practising for a few days at Bethpage, acknowledged that it was gratifying to be still in the mix at 43 years of age. “It's great to be part of the narrative,’’ he said. “My narrative spans 20 years now, just over 20 years. If you look at most of the players or the players that have had the most success on tour, you're not measured by like an NFL football player when you get in the Hall of Fame after nine years.

“If you played out here nine years, you haven't really done that well. You're measured in decades. Arnold Palmer played in 50 straight Masters. It's just done differently. Because the nature of the sport, we're able to hang around a lot longer and still be relevant. A neat thing about this championship here is that when Jack played in his final PGA in 2000, I played with him, he said he played with Gene Sarazen in his final PGA.

“So the fact that golf can span nearly, what, 60, 70 years and playing careers, that's what makes it so special.”

Woods said he would have liked to have played again after the Masters but did not feel mentally ready. Not to mention his back, which has to be constantly managed after his fusion surgery two years ago. “The body doesn't respond like it used to, doesn't bounce back quite as well, so I've got to be aware of that,” he said. “I feel that way every day. I don't know how sore I'm going to be the next morning. I don't. That's the fickle nature of having my back fused. Some days I have more range of motion. Some days I don't. Some days I ache more, and sometimes I don't.

“There’s more volatility, put it that way. There's more days I feel older than my age than I do younger than my age. That's one of the trickier things. And then you add the golf component to it.”

Woods also said today he would love to represent the United States at the Tokyo Olympic Games. The former world No. 1, who can regain the top mantle if he wins at Bethpage this week, tees off at 10.24pm Thursday Australian eastern time in round one.

Coverage of the US PGA begins at 3am Friday on Fox Sports.

AUSTRALIAN TEE TIMES (AEST THURSDAY/FRIDAY)

Adam Scott 9.40pm Thursday

Brendan Jones 9.51pm Thursday

Lucas Herbert 10.57pm Thursday

Jason Day 3.38am Friday

Cameron Smith 3.49am

Marc Leishman 4am

Stuart Deane 4.11am

Craig Hocknull 4.22am


Comments

Posted by Paul Burrows at
16/05/2019 03:40 PM
I used play golf with Craig Hocknull in Darwin as a junior. I’m just wondering how Craig got a draw card into this major?
Posted by Alan at
16/05/2019 02:57 PM
Miss out again if you do not have Foxtel ,can watch every other sport on free to air but no golf???? Good luck to all aussie players wish I could follow your round
Posted by Brontyn Warner at
16/05/2019 11:21 AM
come on Adam, it's time mate. I hope Tigers back holds out, I've just had the 2nd. lot of surgery on mine, know what he's going through. Tiger in name Tiger in spirit!

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