SYDNEY, Australia -- Blow wind, blow. That's what Matt Jones is hoping as he pursues his second Australian Open title.
Since winning the 2015 Open, also at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney, Jones's golfing trek has involved its fair share of bunker-deep stumbles.
Not least, he lost his US PGA Tour card last year, after failing to gain a top-10 finish at a PGA tournament, and regained it only on the last day of the 2017 golf season by finishing tied for fifth at the Web.com Tour Championship in Florida.
Jones, who did not return to defend the Australian Open title last year, hasn't exactly disappeared. But it's hardly a case of fame and fortune after he overcame the stress of a bogey, double-bogey and triple-bogey on the front nine of the final round to win the 2015 title, ahead of Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott.
Two years ago, he took advantage of being a 20-year member of The Australian to ward off the challenge of Spieth and Scott.
Now he wants to use his intimate knowledge of the course, particularly comprehending exactly how it plays when the wind direction dramatically changes, to give his career and profile a considerable jolt. Although now based in the U.S., Jones hails from Oyster Bay, just down the road in Sydney, and he enjoyed his first hole-in-one at the suburban Kareela Golf Club when only six years old.
The build-up for this week's Open is encouraging. Before the 2015 tournament, Jones played a practice round at the course with his brother Brett and Spieth. Same again on Tuesday. As soon as his media commitments were over, he headed off for a quick round of nine holes as part of the same trio.
Jones is also paired to play with Spieth in the opening round on Thursday afternoon, together with Cameron Smith. Despite playing The Australian umpteen times, Jones admitted he must familiarise himself with the greens as he was more accustomed with the course before Jack Nicklaus's redesign in 2013.
"The greens, I don't really know now, as they are different," Jones said on Tuesday.
"The lines off the tee are pretty much the same, which makes things comfortable; I know where I can miss it and where not to miss it. Off the tee, I can do it with my eyes closed. But on the greens it's a little different now."
Jones will not be distressed if it blows a gale over the four days.
"I'm very comfortable out here, especially when it blows because I know how heavy the wind blows and how much it can affect the ball on the golf course because I've played it so much."
The most treacherous wind to cope with is the southerly.
"When you play 9, 10, 12, 17 into the wind, they get very difficult; and then 14, even though it's a par 5, it still becomes a difficult hole. As I've been here since I was 15, I've only known playing this course in the wind. It always seems to blow here, so it's a big advantage.
"The more the wind blows here, I think the better it will be for me."
Jones won't be daunted when he is surrounded by one of the largest galleries, which undoubtedly will involve many of his club members willing him on while closely observing Spieth.
Also, Spieth and Jones are tight.
"It's great to see Jordan come back to Australia every year and play," Jones said.
"I know he loves it. We might have to give him Australian citizenship soon. I've played with Jordan from his first year on tour, and been friends with him since then. He's just a great guy, who is very down to earth. Even with all the success he has had, he hasn't changed at all."