11 Jun 2024 | Professional golf |

Scrivener drawing on Campbell heroics for US Open tilt

by Tony Webeck

Jason Scrivener US Open
Jason Scrivener plays his first major in almost two years at this week's US Open. Photos: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images (Scrivener); Andy Lyons/Getty Images (Campbell)

Australian Jason Scrivener will call on the memories of Kiwi Michael Campbell’s unlikely win almost 20 years ago in his return to the major championship arena at this week’s US Open at Pinehurst No.2.

Scrivener is among the six Aussies in the field in Raleigh, North Carolina this week, a number bolstered by the late reprieve that will enable Adam Scott to play his 92nd consecutive major championship.

For Scrivener, this week’s US Open represents just his fifth start in golf’s showpiece events and his first since the 2022 Open Championship where he was invited in to share countryman Cameron Smith’s epic victory celebrations at St Andrews.

Admitting that juggling becoming a father to two boys in the past three years has impacted his results on-course, Scrivener arrives at Pinehurst an even greater outsider than Campbell 19 years earlier.

Ranked No.80 in the world, Campbell came fifth at Final Qualifying at Walton Heath in London to play his way into the 2005 US Open field. Two weeks later, he held off a man who would win six majors between 2005 and 2008 to etch his name into golf history forever.

Like Campbell, Scrivener had to earn his spot at Walton Heath and has fond memories of the Kiwi’s historic victory at Pinehurst.

“I remember watching it purely because I remember Tiger was chasing him down,” recalled Scrivener, who enters the US Open ranked No.369 in the world.

“Obviously I’d watched quite a lot of Michael Campbell, he used to come down to play in Australia a lot, so I remember it quite vividly.

“I’ve been watching a little bit of those old US Opens there, it looks amazing.”

Tied for eighth at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open in December, Scrivener has only one top-20 finish on the DP World Tour this year, a tie for 17th at the Jonsson Workwear Open in South Africa.

The 35-year-old knows his game is a long way from where it was in 2021 when he finished tied 23rd at the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island and climbed to a career high of 95 in the world but believes the nature of the No.2 layout at Pinehurst can play to his strengths.

“It looks like it suits an Aussie, firm and fast and a little bit of (Melbourne) Sandbelt to it,” said the West Australian.

“I think it somewhat suits me. If it was a bomber’s course that was going to be thick rough, long, it wouldn’t have helped me at all. The fact that, just looking at it, it doesn’t look like it’s the longest course, looks like there’s a bit of run in the fairways and narrow fairways, which suits me.

“And also, you have to be quite precise into the greens, which is one of my strengths.

“If I can play well and play to my ability, then I think the course should suit me.”

Aiding Scrivener’s preparation will be a practice round on Tuesday with his Zurich Classic partner of 2022, Jason Day, and fellow West Australian, Min Woo Lee.

Given his relatively new move into fatherhood, Scrivener intends to use the practice round to not only get to know Pinehurst but glean anything he can from father-of-five Day on how best to manage family and life on tour.

“I know he had a tough couple of years, trying to adjust off the course and on the course, and it’s good to see him back to where he should be,” said Scrivener.

“Playing the European Tour, there’s so much travel that’s involved, so just trying to get the balance between being a good dad and spending time with my family and then trying to be as good as possible.

“I just feel like it’s been a bit of a perfect storm in terms of not playing my best and struggling with my game a little bit and then just trying to find a good balance with things off the course as well.

“It’s been tough, but I feel like I’m getting through it and just learning as we go, how to deal with it.”

The US Open is live on Fox Sports, available on Foxtel and Kayo.

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