Sydney - World number one Jordan Spieth is
gunning to join Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as only the third non-local
player to win back-to-back Australian Opens this week -- but a
"fired-up" Adam Scott is standing in his way.
It was a year ago the American ignited a
"dream" 10 months by winning in Sydney, and a week later claiming the
Tiger Woods-hosted World Challenge.
He went on to capture the opening two
majors of 2015, along with two regular PGA Tour victories and the season-ending
Tour Championship in a breakthrough season.
Spieth said he was thrilled to be back at
The Australian Club for the tournament's 100th edition, where a final-round,
course-record 63 carried him to an impressive six shot success last year.
Now he is seeking to become the first
overseas player in nearly 40 years to lift the trophy twice in a row after
Nicklaus completed his double in 1976.
"Anywhere you can go back and you have
great memories can help you out and it just puts good vibes in going
forward," Spieth said.
"So I am looking forward to trying to
do the exact same thing as last year."
In contrast to Spieth, Australia's world
number 12 Scott is seeking a first win since capturing the 2014 Crowne Plaza
But he said he was highly motivated to win
on home turf with the "whole golf world" watching as Spieth defends
"I am very fired-up to win the
Australian Open this week," said Scott, a former world number one who
finished fifth in Sydney last year.
"I've been building it in my own my
mind just knowing Jordan has come back to defend and as the number one golfer
in the world.
"It's important and it's great that he
is here because the whole golf world will be watching what happens this week,
so he's doing a huge favour for Australian golf this week."
Spieth will play the opening two rounds
with 1997 Australian Open champion Lee Westwood, who is competing in the event
for the first time since beating then world number one Greg Norman in a
four-hole play-off 18 years ago at the Metropolitan Club in Melbourne.
"It's been a long time since I won
that Australian Open and this also is the first time I've played in Sydney
since my first Australian Open in 1994, so I am really looking forward to the
week," said the Englishman.
"And again, the organisers seem to
have assembled a great field and it's still a tournament that players want to
"You only have to see what winning the
Australian Open in 2013 did for Rory McIlroy the following year, and then last
year with Jordan (Spieth) winning, just look as his fabulous season this
Joining Spieth, Scott and Westwood in the
field is European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke, along with Belgium's
big-hitting Nicolas Colsaerts who will accompany Scott over the first two days.