2023 Australian PGA Championship Preview, Picks & Analysis
With no time to draw breath, the new DP World Tour season gets under way this week with two tournaments, the Joburg Open and the Australian PGA Championship.
A number of players will be competing after having played in the DP World Tour Championship. It is a truly brutal schedule.
Among those making the trip from Dubai to Royal Queensland Golf Club in Australia are Robert MacIntyre and Min Woo Lee.
MacIntyre will travel to Australia with two major goals - a third DP World Tour career victory and regaining a place in the world top 50 which would guarantee his place in all four of golf’s major championships in 2024.
MacIntyre, who is 56th in the world rankings, enjoyed a memorable Ryder Cup debut against the United States in Italy in September, going undefeated, including a win in his final-day singles match against U.S. Open Champion Wyndham Clark.
The 27-year-old was involved in one of golf’s best final-round duels of 2023 when he went head-to-head with Rory McIlroy over the finishing holes at the Scottish Open, eventually losing to the Northern Irishman by a shot after closing with a sensational 64.
“I’ve always loved Australia and have family there, so I’m really looking forward to the fortnight playing in Brisbane and Sydney,” MacIntyre said.
“The Australian PGA and Australian Open are two tournaments with great history and I’d love to be up there in both.
“There’s been some great examples in the past of players winning in Australia and then going on to big things in the following year.”
Min Woo Lee, 24, who has finished in the top five in each of the past two editions, is a firm fans’ favourite and his stature continues to grow within the golf world.
After registering a tie for second in Abu Dhabi, Lee enjoyed a memorable debut at the Players Championship in March as he finished in a tie for sixth at TPC Sawgrass on the PGA Tour.
And he cannot wait to get home. He said: "It is an awesome event, I love playing in front of an Australian crowd. Being in Australia is what you want at the end of the year.
"I really enjoy being in Australia and having that support. The last couple of years have been awesome.”
The tournament was won last year by Cameron Smith, who will be back to defend his title, taking advantage of a rare opportunity to earn some world ranking points after his defection to LIV Golf.
There will be a strong field Down Under. Also playing are Adam Scott, Adrian Meronk, Ryo Hisatsune, Tom McKibbin, Marc Leishman, Lucas Herbert, Joaquin Nieman and Mito Pereira.
Meronk will be trying his luck on the PGA Tour next year and he surely has the game to succeed in the USA.
It was won in 2015 by Nathan Holman, in 2016 by Harold Varner III, in 2017 and 2018 by Cameron Smith, in 2019 by Adam Scott, in January 2022 by Jediah Morgan and last November by Cameron Smith. There was no tournament in 2020 and 2021.
Royal Queensland is a par 71 measuring 7.135 yards. It opened in 1920 and was radically redesigned in 2007 by Mike Clayton. The fairways are wide and generous, the rough is short but the large greens are well-protected by bunkers.
Adrian Meronk is the form horse. He is becoming a serial winner and will be spending much of 2024 on the PGA Tour. He is also still smarting from his Ryder Cup snub.
Adrian Meronk. Brilliant ball striker
Cameron Smith. Would love another win on home soil
Robert MacIntyre. Class act
Five to Follow:
Adrian Meronk. A serial winner
Cameron Smith. Looking for ranking points
Robert MacIntyre. Brilliant short game
Min Woo Lee. World class
Adam Scott. The sweetest of swingers
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