Rory McIlroy

The images of some kid golfers remain indelibly etched in the memory bank.

Robert Allenby, a skinny youngster built like a one iron, meeting Greg Norman on the Royal Melbourne practice putting green in 1987 with his late mother Sylvia taking a photo and, likewise, Aaron Baddeley, a lock of hair hanging over his forehead, talking with the Shark on the putting green at Royal Adelaide in 1998 with more snaps a family album.

Then, there was a 17-year-old Rory McIlroy here at Royal Sydney – where the Emirates Australian Open starts tomorrow – at the 2006 Open. He was a slip of a lad with his curly long hair blowing in the wind. He was quietly spoken and courteous just like his dad Gerry who accompanied him on the trip our way.

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Robert Allenby

Robert Allenby has basked in rarified air for eight years now for he achieved what Greg Norman never could at the height of his powers in an illustrious career – and that is to win the Triple Crown of Australian golf which is the PGA, Masters and Open titles in a single year.

The Shark twice won two of our three major championships in the same year – the 1984 Masters and PGA and the 1987 Masters and Open – but it was Allenby in 2005 who strung all three together in the space of just three weeks.

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So much anticipation was in the air at Royal Sydney today when curtain rose on the Scotty and Rory Show.

Would we see the theatrical drama of so many great golfing rivalries of days gone by in as these two gentlemen of the game went head-to-head?

The crowd was massive stretching six and seven deep down the right-hand side of the fairway of the short par four – there was no spectator access on the left through the scrub – and golf fans were still pouring into the course.

Jack Nicklaus once described the Australian Open Championship as the fifth major of the world, and the names on the Stonehaven Cup are among the most legendary in golf.

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