Patrick Rodgers has played more than 250 PGA Tour events, and with the change in how the US circuit structures its season, the American is taking a rare chance to enjoy a holiday mixing work with pleasure.
A one-time ISPS HANDA Australian Open competitor back in 2014 at one of this week’s co-hosts The Australian Golf Club, Rodgers opened his 2023 account with an 8-under 64 on Thursday to sit one back of first-round leader Cameron Davis.
“It’s been a while since I’ve played. I’ve been taking advantage of the off season over in the States and this was a perfect opportunity to come down here,” Rodgers said at The Lakes.
“I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. I haven’t been down here since 2014 and had an amazing experience back then. It’s great to be back and great to kick off some rust in a nice fashion in round one.”
That rust was removed with 10 birdies and two bogeys from the one-time amateur star as he looks to win for the first time since 2015, while still enjoying the harbour city after a push from a former caddie to head Down Under.
Rodgers’ former lopper is a constant salesperson for his homeland to his old boss, who so enjoyed a pro-am grouping with three Sydney Swans players he went back to his hotel and watched AFL highlights on YouTube.
“I have plenty of Australian connections. A guy who used to caddie for me, who’s a great friend, Shane Joel’s from Brisbane and was always wanting me to come down here, so yeah, it’s great to be here,” he said.
“Trying to balance obviously having this be a great work week but also experiencing one of the best cities in the world.”
Rodgers’ business and pleasure trip perhaps the ideal tonic to prepare him for his 10th year playing the PGA TOUR, a year in which he might finally break his duck.
“When I play, I want to play well. For me it almost feels like the start of something. I finished in August and haven’t played since, so I’m kind of getting ready for a big start in January on the PGA TOUR and this is a great way to test out some changes and see where my game is.”