Adam Scott – returns from Covid 19 – photo Henry Peters
With just one week before the golfing world focuses its attention on the 2020 Masters, two of the five Australians who have earned their right to play at Augusta National next week will put the finishing touches on their preparations by playing this week’s Vivint Houston Open at the Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston.
Adam Scott and Jason Day will tee it up, Scott returning from an enforced layoff after contracting Covid 19 two weeks ago while for Day his recent schedule has also been disrupted by health issues after a back injury forced him to withdraw from the C.J. Cup in Las Vegas two weeks ago before playing his most recent event at the Zozo Championship in California two weeks ago.
Scott was forced to withdraw from that same Zozo Championship and has therefore not played since his midfield finish at the US Open six weeks ago in just his 4th start of 2020 after remaining in Australia for much of the year as he sat out the suspended USPGA Tour.
Both players will, therefore, need to take advantage of these last minute preparations ahead of the final major of the year but it is a race against time to have their games in the sort of shape needed to continue their impressive records at Augusta National , Scott having won in 2013 and finished runner-up in 2011 with Day joint runner-up in 2011 and 3rd in 2013.
The event moves to a new venue in 2020, the Memorial Park Golf Course a municipal facility which had previously hosted the event on 14 occasions during the 1940’s 50’s and 60’s.
The course, originally opened in 1936, has, though, undergone a major renovation under the eye of two-time US Open champion, Brooks Koepka.
Australia’s three other entrants at the Masters, Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith and amateur Lukas Michel are not in this week’s field, Smith finishing 4th in his last event at the Zozo Championship before the decision to take a two week break after feeling exhausted by his most recent schedule.
Leishman has been struggling of late and is clearly reserving his energy for The Masters where he has performed with distinction in the past while Michel earned his right for Augusta through winning the US Mid-Amateur Championship last year.
2014 Houston Open Champion, Matt Jones, Cameron Davis and Greg Chalmers are the three other Australians to take their place in this week’s field.