Brett Rumford, this week's defending champion at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth will be teeing off at Lake Karrinyup Country Club with his confidence high but with his feet firmly on the ground.
"I think pretty much it's your name goes from Rummy to defending champion," he was quoted as saying on the European Tour website yesterday. "Everyone just seems to give you that title for the week, which is pretty cool.
"Maybe they're just trying to put a bit more pressure on me, but it feels good. It's always nice coming back to defend a title.
"After missing my (Tour) card, there was definitely a greater incentive last year to win, but there's winning and there's also winning in front of your home state as well.
"That also put pressure on me, so there were a lot of factors that made me really proud of winning last year.
"This year I feel as though there's definitely a bit less pressure on my shoulders and I can just go out and play. Hopefully, my best golf can prevail again."
Last year Rumford ruled the Super 6 from start to finish. He led by five shots after the 54 holes of stroke play and did not look like losing any of his 6-hole match play rounds.
This partly because the Perth native looked a great fit for the tournament's unique format which encompasses three rounds of standard stroke play including the normal 36-hole cut before the field is reduced again after round three to the 24 who will contest a further five rounds of six-hole match play on the final day.
Five doesn't go into 24, quite right, but when your top eight stroke play finishers get a first-round bye into the top 16, it certainly does and it is a format Rumford thrived on.
"You've just got to get your foot in the door," he continued. "Once the match play rounds begin, it's a bit like tennis; you're not playing 154 other players all of a sudden, you're just playing five rounds against five individual players.
"You've just got to take one match at a time, one player at a time and just chip away at it.
"I'm not taking anything from last year. I played great golf and if I can replicate what I did last year in terms of my form coming into this event, then I'll give myself another good chance of winning.
"Every player in this event, once the match play begins, is a threat. Six holes match play, if you get off to a slow start or someone gets off to a fast start - which every single player in this field is capable of doing."
Phachara Kongwhatmai strongly underlined this statement last year when, after squeezing in at the back end of the 24-man field that qualified for the match play rounds, he went all the way through to the final before he was eventually beaten
Phachara Kongwhatmai? Whose he? You might ask. He was then an 18-year-old Thai golfer who, at 14, had become the youngest-ever winner of a professional golf event - the Sing Hua Hin Open on the ASEAN PGA Tour - but was nevertheless relatively unknown outside of Asia.
The Thai young gun's stunning progress underlined the fact that there is an element of luck in this new event and that anyone in the last 24 can win if he comes up with his best at a critical stage.
With only six holes in each match play round, it's pretty hard to play catch-up if, because of some misfortune, you find yourself behind after the first few holes and this controversial element may be why the event has not drawn a stronger field to its second edition.
Rumford's back of course and the ageing former World No 1 Lee Westwood is playing - and this as one of the Bookmaker's joint top favourite at 22/1. The other is Denmarks Thorbjorn Olesen.
Behind these two the bookies have, at 25/1, New Zealand's rising star Ryan Fox, Australian-born Jason Scrivener, another fancied rising star playing out of South Africa, established Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat and American Paul Peterson.
All are good professionals, most of whom have won on the European Tour, but along with Westwood and Oleson, they hardly constitute the cream of Europe right now so, it seems, the jury is still out on this highly unusual event.
But it will be interesting to see who can best navigate all of its channels and hurdles this week.
(Early morning, February 6, 2018)
Lee Westwood 22/1
Thorbjorn Olesen 22/1
Ryan Fox 25/1
Jason Scrivener 25/1
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 25/1
Satoshi Kodaira 25/1
Paul Peterson 25/1
David Lipsky 28/1
Miyazato Yusaku 28/1
Seung Su Han 30/1
Hideto Tanihara 30/1
Brett Rumford 33/1
Andrew Johnston 35/1
Scott Vincent 40/1
Wade Ormsby 40/1
Alejandro Canizares 45/1
Lucas Herbert 45/1
Nick Cullen 45/1
Sean Crocker 50/1
Berry Henson 66/1.
For betting odds visit BetWay.
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