The sports bulletin on my Monday morning drive to work offered up a quartet of stories that were all worthy of comment.
It was embarrassing watching the Australian Open presentation ceremony to Abraham Ancer at The Lakes yesterday, knowing the first Mexican to win the coveted Stonehaven Cup was banking the princely sum of $US 163,670.
In fact, the total prize money was $1.25 million, far less than the winner’s share of $2.16 million for the US Open, $1.89 million for winning The Open Championship, and just more than the $1.116 million for the Canadian Open champion.
Golf Australia is so out of touch – there’s no longer an Australian Masters. That event has ceased to exist since 2015.
There is still an Australian PGA that’s included in the European Tour wrap-around 2018-19 schedule at Royal Pines from November 30 to December 3.
Therein lies the future if Golf Australia gets motivated.
The European Tour has the vision and organisational powers that Golf Australia lacks.
In the coming season the Tour will play in 30 countries with a second Australian-based tournament at Lake Karrinyup, hosting the World Super 6, from February 8-11.
So why not have the Australian Open, PGA, and Masters linked to the European Tour in three successive weeks?
Better still linked to the Tour’s Rolex Series that carries a minimum $7 million prize money that would attract bigger Australian sponsorship that is tragically missing in the current campaign.
With fields of Justin Rose, Francesco Molinari, Sergio Garcia, Rory Mclroy, Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, and Henric Stenson from Europe and Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, and the swag of 23-plus year olds firing from the USA, the Australian leg would be something special.
It used to be a regular highlight when Gary Player won seven Australian Opens, Jack Nicklaus six, Greg Norman five and Peter Thomson three – with other world-class golfers like Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Gene Sarazen, and Bobby Locke also having their names engraved on the Stonehaven Cup.
That’s taking nothing away from Abraham Ancer who looked more like a jockey standing just 170 cms tall, and tipping the scales at 70 kgs dripping wet.
How the 27-year-old handled the gales, the rain, and the ever-present lakes was something special to win by five shots, and automatically qualify for next years Open Championship at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland – his first major.
Ancer has only won one other tournament since he turned pro in 2014, and that was the Nova Scotia Open on the web.com tour in 2015.
This week he’s representing Mexico at the World Cup of golf in Melbourne, and like Jordan Spieth, who won the 2014 Australian Open that kick-started his career, keep an eye on Abraham Ancer, he has what it takes to consistently compete with the elite.
And keep an eye on the Australian team at the World Cup of Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith, who returned to form yesterday with 66 at The Lakes.
Their toughest competition will come from the Americans Matt Kuchar, and Kyle Stanley, plus the South Africans Branden Grace and Charl Schwartzel, the Englishmen Tyrell Hatton and Ian Poulter, and the Danes Thorbjorn Olesen, and Soren Kjeldsen.