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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 179
Consider for a moment that PGA of Australia bosses were chuffed when 100,000 turned up to see the entire four days of the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne in 2011, and you get some idea of just how big this monster is. At the Phoenix Open it’s amazing there’s any space left for some of a golf tournament’s more important components. You know, like fairways and greens. The annual mass migration to Scottsdale is as impressive as it is frightening for the greenkeepers tasked with repairing the damage in the weeks and months that follow. And the mobs that ringed every hole certainly didn’t seem to bother Brooks Koepka, who claimed his maiden PGA Tour victory at last year’s event. Koepka will defend his title this week, with his cause aided by the absence of most of the world’s top 10, with only last year’s runner-up Bubba Watson (5) and Rickie Fowler (4) fronting up, and less than 20 of the top 50 making the journey the week before the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Koepka, who joined the Nike fraternity in the off-season, is working his way into form ahead of his title defence, too, having ridden a Saturday 63 into a tie for third place at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. And if you’re catching the tournament on pay TV, you’ll either love or hate NBC’s offering, for one important reason. Or, should we say, one important person. The ever-divisive David Feherty will make his tournament debut for the network, having parted ways with CBS last year. He’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but will breathe some much-needed life into a tournament that clearly possesses plenty of on-course pulling power, but might be a little lacking for the all important couch warriors. All we can say is we’re in the Phoenix Open lovers camp. Let’s get this party started. E
GA Express 178
GA Express 180