The 104-year-old tournament began in the days of hickory shafts and gutty golf balls and boasts an honour roll that includes the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Peter Thomson, Greg Norman and Gene Sarazen.

Nicklaus, who won the event six times, often described it as the fifth Major but the Australian Open has since fallen on tough times.

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While most of the top Australian players still compete, the event struggles to attract the top overseas players because of the tournament's inability to match the huge prize money on the US Tour.

There will be no sponsor for this year's Australian Open, to be held at Royal Sydney in December, and the overseas challenge will be led by Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke and New Zealand's Michael Campbell.

Ogilvy, ranked 18th in the world, said the current global financial crisis had only added to the tournament's problems but he was hopeful the event would survive.

"It seems harder and harder to find money for professional golf and sporting events in general in Australia really, but they've done a pretty good job here," he said.

"Our event's better every year so hopefully we ride it out until it gets good again and then it's back to one of the biggest ones in the world."

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