James Rogerson - Six of the Best
We spoke to James Rogerson shortly after his gun to tape victory at the Australian Open.
Rogerson's last win in the Australian Open was back in 2012. Did he ever question whether he would add to his title hau;? "I never had any doubt that I'd win again but I didn't think it would take so long. There must be some truth to (the maxim that) practice makes perfect!"
Conversely, preparations for the 2020 tournament were atypical. "I didn't get much practice in before the event - I've only played a handful of games since March."
The four-time Australian Open champion doesn't believe the reduction to 54 holes had any major impact."The format this year was different but in this game the objective is to get the ball in the hole. Everyone is in the same situation; some prepare better; some are just luckier."
Just as the change in format was driven by measures imposed to counter the pandemic, the Covid-19 measures also prevented some key personalities, including the defending champion, from travelling to participate. Rogerson hopes that he can renew friendly hostilities with 2019 winner Jack Kalis twelve months hence. "There is no doubting Jack Kalis' dedication to this game and he was missed over the weekend."
A phenomenal opening eight under par opening round in very hot weather saw the animated Aussie dominate the Canberra International-hosted event from the off. "The 46 was suprising! The greens were hard but not overly fast. I'm using the Callaway Supersoft ball and I love it - no spin but it stops very good, so I got some really good chances at birdie and took them."
James agrees that the Warren Gray-prompted TV and radio coverage for the Open was pretty impressive, but as ever, craves more. "It's always nice to hear and see Pitch and Putt being promoted in any way. However much more needs to be done to put Pitch and Putt in the spotlight on a big stage."
Rogerson has now won as many international opens as Ian Farrelly and shares with the Irishman the best ever total since records began in 2001 (see separate article in this newsletter). And he's overjoyed at that. "Being one of the best players was always my goal. I never expected it would happen and it is something I am proud of. I hope there can be a return to international events and opens and I hope Australia can host a world strokeplay or world cup in the near future."