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Golf Australia Express : January 2013
Experts have touched on theories of inexperienced coaching and less than ideal work ethic as reasons for Australia’s major drought. To me, that’s unlikely. Australia has had the ‘world’s best practice’ as far as coaching is concerned for two decades now. Rather, it has been the blind desire to chase the dream of playing the US PGA Tour that’s left our boys in the sheds. In the past decade we’ve had some of our homegrown events aligned with the Nationwide Tour (now web.com Tour). As a secondary tour acting as a feeder to the main US tour, it helped a few of our players secure their PGA Tour cards. But not nearly enough. In the meantime, South Africa’s Sunshine Tour aligned its January tournaments to a strengthening European Tour. It meant any player who won an event under the European Tour banner was fully exempt from qualifying for three years on the European Tour. That’s an incredible head-start to a professional career—simply for winning a southern hemisphere home event. What the Australasian Tour did instead was start up its own—and now almost defunct—OneAsia Tour. The Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship have been played under that banner for way too long now. If a young player wins an Australian Open or PGA Championship he’s fully exempt on the OneAsia Tour. Big deal. It’s not a big enough leg up. To see what our players are missing, have a look at what South Africa’s Brandon Grace has done since winning his first event in South Africa earlier this year. Grace ended up winning three more titles on the European Tour and now finds himself with a golden ticket to all the majors by finishing the 2012 season inside the top 50 in world rankings. If all of our events—including the Australian Masters, Perth International and New Zealand events—were a part of the Race to Dubai season in Europe, Australian golfers would be given a greater chance to succeed on the big stage. It’s been far too long between drinks. OTG NOTICED the domination of South African and British players in majors and world rankings of late? The world of golf has scratched its head looking for answers to why this is happening, and why Australian performances have been disappointing considering the vast talent pool here. At the moment, there are six British players (I’m including Northern Ireland for the sake of the exercise) ranked inside the world’s top 14, while South Africans have been extremely successful in majors with Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Trevor Immelman winning on golf’s biggest stage since 2008. That’s the sort of success Australian golf has been dreaming of for a long time. WE NEED TO ALIGN OUR TOUR WITH THE EUROPEAN TOUR FOR THE SAKE OF HOMEGROWN PLAYERS, WRITES MARK ALLEN. LOOKING TO EUROPE TELL US YOUR THOUGHTS DPS BA with Mark Allen MARCO'S MUSE It has been the blind desire to chase the dream of playing the US PGA Tour that’s left our boys in the sheds.