Adam Scott seeks crowning glory for season as Rory looks for first win
STAR attractions Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy will target victory for two very different reasons in the Emirates Australian Open in Sydney this week.
Masters champion Scott is looking to become only the second person in history to complete a triple crown Down Under if he can add the title to the Australian PGA Championship and Australian Masters he won earlier this month, while he also partnered Jason Day to victory in the team section of the World Cup at Royal Melbourne.
In stark contrast, former world number one McIlroy is still seeking his first win of a troubled campaign that has at least shown signs of improvement in recent weeks.
"Obviously I'm excited about this week with the chance to win the triple crown of Australian golf like Robert (Allenby) did a few years back (2005), so there is a lot on the line and a lot to play for," Scott said. "I'm certainly looking forward to having a go at it this week.
"The course (Royal Sydney) is looking good and the competition is tough. I think it will be a well-earned victory for whoever ends up on top."
Asked if he had caught up with Allenby and whether there had been any pre-tournament sledging, Scott joked: "I'll leave the sledging to the cricketers. I caught up with Robert (on Tuesday) night at the function and I asked some advice on how to go about it but he didn't offer any up.
"I'm left to my own devices this week."
McIlroy won five times around the world in 2012, including his second major title by eight shots in the US PGA Championship, but has struggled to rediscover such form since his controversial multi-million euro switch to Nike in January.
The 24-year-old has also found himself embroiled in unwelcome distractions off the course, most notably a legal dispute with his former management company and another with former sponsors Oakley which has just been settled.
The Irishman can at least point to some good recent form, however, finishing sixth in the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai and fifth in the DP World Tour Championship Dubai, where Henrik Stenson succeeded him as European number one.
"I've said for the last couple of months I just wanted to try and finish this season strongly and get some momentum to go in 2014. This would be the perfect place to get that first win of the year and give me a sort of springboard into the next season," he said.
"It's going to be tough. There's going to be a lot of guys that feel like they have a chance to win this week and I know that I'm going to have to play some of my best golf to give myself a chance."
The tournament also marks the first new Open Qualifying Series with three places in next year's Open at Hoylake available to players who finish inside the top 10 who are not already exempt.
McIlroy, Scott, Day and American Kevin Streelman are the only four players in the 156-strong field who are exempt.