Golf legends take on young talent

NOT TOOTHLESS: Greg Norman. © Unknown.
NOT TOOTHLESS: Greg Norman. © Unknown.

PERTH - Flashy Colombian Camilo Villegas and US hotshot Anthony Kim will be up against golfing legends Greg Norman and Colin Montgomerie as old meets new at this week's Johnnie Walker Classic.

PERTH - Flashy Colombian Camilo Villegas and US hotshot Anthony Kim will be up against golfing legends Greg Norman and Colin Montgomerie as old meets new at this week's Johnnie Walker Classic.

Britain's Paul Casey, Lee Westwood and the flamboyant Ian Poulter will also feature along with defending champion Mark Brown of New Zealand in the $2,5 million (about R25million) showpiece at The Vines Resort and Country Club starting tomorrow.

The nomadic event, one of the region's most prestigious, returns to Australia after devastating wildfires that killed 189 in Victoria and a clutch of top stars took part in a celebrity pro-am to raise funds for victims.

Extreme heat that has plagued the country is also expected this weekend in Perth, where the charismatic Norman, 54, will draw the biggest galleries.

The former world number one is now ranked 212, but the "Great White Shark" showed he still had bite with his remarkable tied-third finish at last year's British Open. Norman, who is preparing for a return to the US Masters in April, is also a previous winner of the Johnnie Walker Classic, taking the 1994 title in Phuket.

But while he will be the crowd favourite, the strongest contenders are likely to be Villegas and Kim, considered potential challengers to the long dominance of the injured Tiger Woods.

Villegas, 26, is ranked ninth in the world and is making his third trip to Australia. The popular Colombian with the unusual Spiderman putting preparation (he gets real close to the ground) is coming off red-hot form at the end of last year, winning the last two events on the US PGA tour.

Californian Kim is ranked 11th in the world and is reaping the rewards for a more dedicated attitude, winning two tournaments last year and playing a starring role in the US's Ryder Cup win.

But he has been troubled by shoulder soreness. - Sapa-AFP

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