Success in Japan has Jones set for Open
Brendan Jones. Photo: Getty Images
A boom season in Japan has given Brendan Jones the confidence he needs to chase his first Stonehaven Cup when he tees off at his first Australian Open in four years on Thursday.
And the star Canberra golfer says any move to ban the broomstick putter he has used for more than a decade would be an ''ancient decision''.
Buoyed by his highest finish on the Japan Tour money list with more than $1 million in prizemoney, Jones insists he can shake off jetlag and a dodgy left foot to be a contender at the Lakes golf course.
The Canberra golfing star has missed the past three Australian Opens because of tournament clashes in Japan.
Jones finished third on the money list in Japan and recorded two wins in a solid year.
But now he's back and has set his sights on making an immediate impact just days after arriving back in Australia.
''I don't know if the excitement has started yet, I still feel tired from getting back and the foot is playing up,'' Jones said.
''If I play well, I'm a good chance. There's no reason why I can't win.
''It's a realistic goal, I'm not unheralded and I've played a lot with the top players in the world.
''I know how to win and I am good enough to do it, it just has to come together in the one week.
''Right now I'm trying to get on time. I feel a bit flat from the last week in Japan so I've just got to get things moving in the right direction.''
Jones will be one of a host of the world's top golfers affected by the proposed rule change to ban the broomstick putter in 2016, with a final decision soon.
The 37-year-old has been using the longer putter for the past 12 years.
Jones joked it could force him to stick to his plan of retiring when he turned 40.
He said if officials wanted to crack down on putters, they needed to crack down on every aspect of the game.
''The ball goes a ridiculous distance, the drivers are big … you could act on a lot of regulation so I don't know why they're thinking about this,'' Jones said.
''If you want to put the art back in the game you have to go back 50 years and not just look at putters.
''You have to move forward with technology.
''Golf's an ancient game and the people who are making these ancient decisions have been around a long time.
''Every sport changes … the long putter has been there almost 30 years so I don't see why all of a sudden it's a problem.
''Nine of the top 10 players in the world use conventional putters, if the broomstick or belly putters were a big advantage everyone would be doing it.
''It will be difficult to go back to anything else after the last 12 years, but I guess you have to adjust if it happens.''
The Japan Tour season finished last week with Jones finishing in a tie for 14th in the last tournament.
But he hit a hurdle when midway through his final round he felt ''like someone stabbed me in the foot'' and he was unable to practise when he arrived in Australia.
Jones is confident it will not affect his chances of pushing for victory in Sydney as he chases his first big win in Australia.
He will also play in the Australian PGA championships next week.
''Any time you win is a good year and winning twice is great,'' Jones said.
''I was on fire in the first half of the year but when I went back to Japan to play I played poorly.
''The year as a whole though has been a good one.''