Getting In The Mood: The Australian Open At The Lakes

Hard to believe it was only a year ago that the golf world was focused on The Lakes. The Emirates Australian Open returns to the super-cool Mike Clayton-renovated course with plenty of intrigue though not nearly as stellar a field as 2011. That's mostly because the Presidents Cup hasn't lured some big name Americans Down Under.

Tiger tees off on the 12th in 2011. (Click image to enlarge)Sadly, Rory and Ernie's appearance fee prices jumped after winning majors, reports Rohan Clarke. Otherwise they had been looking at playing.

Still, the combination of solid headliners (Adam Scott, Geoff Oglivy, Tom Watson, Justin Rose, John Senden and defender Greg Chalmers) on an outstanding course is enough to make it worth turning on. Throw in Australia's (more) enjoyable telecasts, a tournament played in arguably the world's most beautiful city, and it should all add up to worthwhile viewing.

Amazing that it was just a year ago that the week kicked off with Stevie and Tiger tension after the wretched bag toter had told an assembled audience that he wanted to shove Adam Scott’s victory at the Bridgestone Invitational “up (Woods’) black $%^&$*@.”

Ahh...those were the good ole days of fall golf blogging!Now it's just fools tampering with the Old Course and putter bans.

There was also John Daly's 11th hole blow up. Shockingly, he is not in the field this year.

I also really enjoyed the entire atmosphere of the event, including this local vendors area where there was a hickory club maker/repairer.

The par-3 18th.Here was my front nine course gallery. And part of the back nine.

The tournament also has a content-rich website, with contributions from Martin Blake, Bruce Young, John Huggan, Nick Cullen and Mike Clayton.

Clayton looks at the Australian Open's place in golf history and says it was a "myth" that this was a fifth major. Yet it does have an amazing roster of winners and Clayton explains why.

Golf Channel's telecast times in the US, all ET:

Wednesday 8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live) / 1-3:30 p.m. (Thursday Replay)

Thursday 8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live)

Friday 8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live) / 1-3:30 p.m. (Saturday replay)

Saturday 8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live) / 1-6 p.m. (Sunday replay)