David Polkinghorne July 19, 2012
Brett Ogle believes Canberra golfer Brendan Jones has the ability to win on the US Tour and a game that will be suited to the British Open, which will be played over the next four days. Photo: Getty Images
Brett Ogle says Canberra's Brendan Jones is good enough to win on the US Tour and his game is suited to the tough Royal Lytham and St Annes course used for this year's British Open.
But he's backed Adam Scott as Australia's best hope of breaking a six-year majors drought dating back to Geoff Ogilvy's victory in the 2006 US Open.
Ogle grew up in Goulburn and heard of Jones when the pair played at Sydney's Castle Hill Country Club in the 90s.
He won two tournaments on the US Tour - the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Tournament and the Hawaiian Open - and said Jones had the talent to do the same, but applauded his decision to instead focus on Japan.
Ogle said Japan was an ideal tour for Australian golfers, especially those with young families.
The time zone and closeness to Australia meant Jones could spend much more time in Canberra with his wife and kids than if he was based in the USA.
But if Jones had decided to stay in the USA, Ogle had no doubt he would've forged a successful career on the world's best tour.
Jones dabbled with the USA, but decided to focus on Japan instead.
''I had no doubt that Jonesy had the game to win in America that's for sure, if his mindset was right and he liked being in America and stuck it out I have no doubt he would've won there, for sure,'' Ogle told The Canberra Times yesterday.
''He's got plenty of game Jonesy, always has.''
Ogle has backed Jones's ''piercing ball flight'' to cut through the howling winds and driving rain expected to grace Royal Lytham, in Lancashire, when the Open tees off tonight.
But it's not only the weather that will cause havoc - there's also 206 strategically placed bunkers and knee-high rough.
Ogle battled Royal Lytham in 1996, shooting a five-over 289 and finishing equal 67th.
He said you had to ''think your way'' around the course and thought Jones was more than capable of navigating the minefield created by the bunkers and rough.
''[Jones] has got a piercing ball flight for a start, he can keep it low without any problem at all, which is super for British Open courses,'' Ogle said.
''And the other thing is he's got a very good mental game … and that's why he's continued to be a consistent winner in Japan, because up there you've got to manage the golf course very well and think your way around.''
Ogle's main concern for Jones was his broom-stick putter, a worry he also has for Scott.
But he still thought the South Australian was Australia's best contender.
''[Scott] had a pretty slow start to the year … but since the US Open where he was in contention and then finished third at the AT&T behind Tiger [Woods], I think he's shown his game has come around,'' he said.
''His ball striking is back to some of its best, but once again I put a question mark on how the broom-stick putter in the wind will react.''
He also liked the chances of veteran Ernie Els.
''[Els's] past two months have been superb … the form that he's shown this year I think Ernie Els is good value,'' Ogle said.