Clarke, Westwood to join Spieth at Australian Open

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 30: Jordan Spieth of the USA plays a bunker shot on the 9th hole during day four of the 2014 Australian Open at The Australian Golf Course on November 30, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 30: Jordan Spieth of the USA plays a bunker shot on the 9th hole during day four of the 2014 Australian Open at The Australian Golf Course on November 30, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images) Mark Metcalfe

Australian Open organisers have snared British Open winner Darren Clarke and the best golfer never to have won a major, England's Lee Westwood, to bolster the line-up for next month's tournament which already includes world No.1 Jordan Spieth.

Westwood, 42, launched his professional career with a victory in the 1997 Australian Open at Melbourne's Metropolitan Golf Club, before going on to the claim the world's No.1 ranking.

Despite 42 wins worldwide, and 17 top-10 finishes in majors, he has not been able to break through at the highest level.

But Irishman Clarke is proof a major is not out of the question yet - he broke through at the 2011 British Open at Royal St George's at the age of 44.

Spieth returns to defend his Australian Open crown, his victory last year having triggered his amazing burst of wins, including the Masters-US Open double this year. He ended the season by winning the FedEx Cup to finish 2015 as the world No.1 and PGA Player of the Year at just 22.

The young American with the magical putting stroke equalled Tiger Woods' record total of 18-under-par in winning the Masters at Augusta, and then became the youngest US Open winner since the legendary Bobby Jones in 1923.

Spieth was a member of the US team that defeated the Internationals by a single point in the recent Presidents Cup in South Korea.

However he lost his singles match on the final day to Australia's Marc Leishman.

The world No.36 Aussie will feel even more comfortable on home soil next month, especially knowing he went blow for blow with the young American superstar under such immense pressure and in the end, came out on top.

Countryman Adam Scott also produced his best form in the Presidents Cup with a stunning 6&5 win over American

Ricky Fowler, showing some nice touch on the greens with his new short-handled putter.

Scott, who became the first Australian to win the Masters in 2013, rose to the world's No.1 ranking in May 2014.

A week later he won the Crowne Plaza Invitational, his only victory outside of Australia since winning at Augusta.

The Queenslander started the year at No.3, but has slipped down the rankings to sit at No.14.

Fellow Aussie Jason Day has replaced Scott as Australia's highest-ranked player, briefly claiming the No.1 spot before losing it to Spieth.

Scott will line up in the event at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney, while Day will miss the tournament to be with his wife Ellie for the birth of their second child.



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