The defending champion is Rory McIlroy, making his final appearance of 2014 at the event he quite literally stole from Adam Scott last year. Adam looked to be in control until Rory ran him down in the final stretch, winning with a birdie on the final hole. Adam is looking to even the score this year.
In fact, Adam requested that he and Rory be paired together the first two days, presumably to keep an eye on Rory. But the event organizers decided to keep the two separated, according to this SkySports article (from which the photo also came), simply to spread the main draws across as many groupings as possible. As Golf Australia championship director Trevor Herden told SkySports:
“It’s very tempting, but there are several considerations when pairing the strongest world-class players in the Australian Open field. And it’s for the exact reasons that the Masters, US and British Opens and the US PGA separated these two guys this season. Just like all the major championships do, we will spread out the superstars across the draw to ensure as many people as possible see them.”Therefore, Rory will be paired with Geoff Ogilvy and Stuart Appleby in the morning wave. Adam will be paired with Jordan Spieth and last week's Australian Masters champion Nick Cullen in the afternoon.
Personally, I'll be very interested to see how Jordan does. It's his first trip to Australia and he's coming off a third-place finish in Japan last week, where he missed the playoff by a single shot. Given that Jordan's coach is Australian PGA Professional Cameron McCormick, Jordan may have a better chance than most expect. And according to the Australian PGA site, Jordan has idolized Adam for a long time and is looking forward to playing with him.
GC starts their broadcast tonight at 8pm ET. I'm looking for Jordan to get his first international win this weekend.