Thanks to the folks at Augusta National and ESPN, the sublime Royal Melbourne already returns to our televisions a year after hosting the Australian Masters and World Cup in back-to-back weeks and seemingly feeling like the best place to hold an international PGA Championship (but no go).
The Asian Pacific Amateur Championship will be played on the composite course of years prior to the 2011 Presidents Cup, and it'll be interesting to see what the Pacific Rim's finest amateurs do on Alister MacKenzie and Alex Russell's masterpiece (I've heard the greens have been too firm of late...so we'll see if they have found a happy medium.)
Bruce Young with an iseekgolf.com preview of the event.
This unbylined AP story notes that Yang Gunn, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion and master handshake bluffer is playing even though he already has a spot in the Masters. But he has a history with the sandbelt that made the event irresistible.
"This is one of the best tournaments in the world," Yang said. "I'm really excited about being here and kind of competing on my home soil. I grew up here, and I really love the way they play golf here on the sand belt. It's like links golf."
Also in the field is 16-year-old Australian phenom Ryan Ruffels, whose home course is Royal Melbourne. Martin Blake profiles Gunn and Ruffels.
My photos from the 2011 Presidents Cup, an event that sticks with me and those who were lucky enough to attend. Here, here, here, here, here and here.
You can follow the event through it's vibrant Twitter account.
Here are the ESPN telecast hours and channels, all times Eastern:
This is that magical time of year for West Coast viewers when we get the best Australian pro events in prime time, featuring fine telecasts highlighting top quality courses with intriguing fields. Though the pro opener is on tape delay to avoid the Asian Pacific Amateur, the European Tour's first event Down Under should still be worth watching even. And by no means is the ISPS Handa Perth International to be taken lightly as many top Aussies, Europeans and a few Americans (Duf is back!) tee it up at Lake Karrinyup Country Club in the final event to qualify for the Race To Dubai.
Golf Channel times (Eastern) for the ISPS Handa telecasts:
Thursday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (Tape delay)
Friday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (Tape delay)
Saturday 6:30-10:30 a.m. (Tape delay)
Sunday 6:30-10:30 a.m. (Tape delay)