by Mark Hayes on Pebble Beach
If you let Matt Jones make the American PGA tour to his location choice, the rule of how often Pebble Beach would take place every year would be around 10.
The Sydneysider makes no bones about his love for the jewel along the California coast and although he is the first to tell you that his big championship record is not great, he is genuinely excited about his chances at this week's US Open
He has not missed a trip to the annual AT&T Pro-Am here since he made his debut in 2008 and has two top 10 & # 39; s to his name in 12 career beginnings.
"I love coming here, it really is one of my favorite places in the world, both visually and in terms of golf," beamed Jones after his final preparations today.
"I have my family here with me in a house with the children. I like that the temperature is cooler (than the regular tour stops), because I can play in a sweater that is good for my back. I love it the general of being here. "
Who apparently placed Jones mentally better than half the field who are worried about the problems that Pebble Beach could present if severe circumstances broke out.
"That is one of the biggest reasons that I play well every year at AT & T, because I come here and love it. Admittedly, this is a very different course until February, but I have seen it in so many different ways that nothing we see this week will stumble me.
"Firm and fast this week will be good for me, for all Australians, I would suggest. You will be able to use the greens, bounce it briefly and run inside, which we grew up at home.
& # 39; And it's all about managing your mistakes. You will intentionally miss a number of greens to gain access to pins.
"For example … the second hole, if the pin is on the left and you miss it, then you have to miss it in the right bunker, because if you miss it somewhere on the left, you just won't go up and down.
"You will have to play very cleverly at some holes to gain access to the pins or perhaps give yourself a chance to get a par."
Asked to predict a danger hole outside of those more widely associated with Pebble Beach, Jones said the famous seventh could be tricky in a north wind.
"But I would say that the fifth, the long par three, with whatever wind will lead to massacre. You cannot miss it long left in that bunker or you will get angry if it is not double and that it remains rough miserable.
"But if you have a right pin, you have to edit the ball from left to right to get the hole in the hole and knowing that there is a danger all the way to the right, I think it's the hardest hole in the course."
In some ways, after being qualified in Texas earlier this month and already close to closing his American PGA Tour card for next year, despite starting the season on limited status, Jones is already playing with house money.
"I don't know if (my card is) locked up, but where I've been in the last three years or so, it's a much better feeling, that's for sure," he said.
"I hit it just like that, but I came up with a way. I went through a piece after I won the (2015) Australian Open until almost January this year, when I pecked terribly and that's all.
"And making par or birdie out here just makes a big difference."
Jones statistics will confirm that. His "winning wins" rank has him almost exactly 0.2 strokes per round better off than this season. And although that may not sound like that, it is the difference between 71st this year and 123rd in 2018.
He is also good at one-putt percentage and three-putt avoidance, and gives strength to his claims.
"It was mechanical and it took a long time to figure something out, but I started with coach Gary (barter) and I feel far for where I have been in the previous years."
Bartering is opposite The Australian Golf Club to work with Jones this week – almost always a positive sign for his old student.
"History would certainly say yes," said Jones.
"I would say 75 percent of the time that I see Gary personally, I better play that week or immediately after that."
So where exactly could all this positivity lead Jones this week in an event in which he missed the cut twice in his two previous appearances.
"I just feel very happy about this place. I would say that the top five or top 10 can be done very well here.
"You never know in the circumstances here, but I am confident that something good can happen."
And if positive vibes count for anything, you certainly wouldn't bet against Jones in his lucky place.