Big fish missing from Aus Open golf field

Adam Scott, Marc Leishman and Jason Day look unlikely starters for November's Australian Open as organisers work to boost the field with in-form internationals.

19-Sep-2018 By Murray Wenzel, Australian Associated Press
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None of the country's top three drawcards look likely for November's Australian Open while the Sydney showpiece will also be lacking golf's biggest international talent after being snookered by rival tournaments and wedding bells.

Australia's world No.11 Jason Day has ruled out playing The Lakes from November 15-18 as he awaits the birth of his third child, while neither No.22 Marc Leishman or No.40 Adam Scott are yet to be talked into teeing it up in Sydney.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will play a $12 million head-to-head match on November 23, while the Race to Dubai finale - featuring the European Tour's best performers - starts on November 19.

Spaniard Sergio Garcia was a drawcard at last year's Australian PGA Championship on the Gold Coast alongside Scott and Leishman, while Day played in Sydney as Jordan Spieth returned to defend his Open title.

But there will be a noticeable lack of star power on Australian shores this year, with Melbourne's World Cup at The Metropolitan from November 21-25 also without any of the world's top 20 players.

In an unfortunate coincidence, Spieth's wedding will rule out world No.9 Rickie Fowler and No.4 Justin Thomas, while Dustin Johnson's brother's wedding will be attended by US Open and PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka.

Open organisers are still confident of adding to an international field currently headed by Americans Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker, with Kuchar's World Cup partner Kyle Stanley a prime target.

Germany's former world No.1 Martin Kaymer has committed to the World Cup and could be another in Open organiser's sights.

Leishman will return to the Gold Coast from November 29 to December 2, fresh off leading Australia's World Cup campaign.

But he is unlikely to compete in all three events given his self-imposed rule of spending no more than two weeks away from his children at any one time.

A regular at his home tournament at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast, Scott remains a chance of playing both but is yet to be locked in for either tournament.

Defending Australian PGA winner Cameron Smith was picked ahead of Scott by Leishman to contest the World Cup and organisers of both the PGA and Open are hopeful the current world No.33 will feature in all three Australian tournaments.

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