Defending champion Matt Jones and major winner Geoff Ogilvy are the latest golf stars to join the high quality field for the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Jones’ return to defend the title he won in Sydney in 2019 comes after the national championship was cancelled for two years because of the global pandemic.
Jones is still playing superb golf, finishing third at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and runner-up in the Valero Texas Open on last season’s US PGA Tour, having won the Honda Classic in Florida last year.
Now playing on the LIV Golf circuit, Jones has won two Australian Opens, a feat managed by only a handful of men over the history of an event that dates to 1904.
Both triumphs came at his beloved second home at The Australian, where he played much of his early golf in Sydney before heading off as a young man to college in the United States, then turning professional.
He won the 2015 Open by a shot from Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth, then again in 2019, narrowly beating Louis Oosthuizen.
The 42-year-old said he was thrilled to be able to return to defend his title at the Victoria and Kingston Heath clubs that are co-hosting the Open from December 1-4.
“It’s been a while, that’s for sure, but I can’t wait to get there. Everyone’s aware of how great the Melbourne sandbelt courses are and that’s always a challenge for any player as well as a treat,” Jones said.
“Winning two national Opens is one of the things that I’m most proud of in my career but quite frankly three would be even better.”
Ogilvy, an all-time Australian great, won the 2010 Australian Open at The Lakes in Sydney, after capturing the US Open at Winged Foot in 2006.
Ogilvy and Jones join world No.3 and 2022 British Open Champion Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman, Lucas Herbert, Cam Davis, Kiwi Ryan Fox, World Golf Hall of Famer Karrie Webb and another major winner in Hannah Green among the first cluster of players to commit to the mixed-gender championship.
Jones and Ogilvy will be taking part in an Australian Open with a big difference this time around, with men, women and All Abilities players competing with equal billing throughout the week, on the same courses at the same time.
It is the first time that a national Open anywhere in the world has featured men and women concurrently.