NATHAN Green expects to have butterflies in his stomach when he walks onto the tee for the first round of the Australian Open on Thursday.
It's the reason the 44-year-old player still works on his game, although nowhere near as hard as the Toronto professional toiled during eight years on the US PGA Tour.
"I still enjoy it and get nervous on the first tee," Green said ahead of the $1.5 million national open at The Australian Golf Club.
"You get back into tournament mode and try and prepare the best you can.
"I enjoy the competitive side. You get a feel a little bit for what you used to do. It is a great field and the course is mint. You get an inkling if you can play really well and get it going, you can have a good week."
It's not just the atmosphere that stirs the competitive spirit.
Green was on the physio table after a practice round on Tuesday when he heard the familiar voice of US Masters winner and US tour regular Sergio Garcia.
"He said hello and asked what I was up to," Green said. "You lose track of people. It was nice to catch up with him. We used to have a kick of soccer on the [US] tour and he played in that. Sergio is a flusher. He hits it good every week, it is a matter of how he putts."
Garcia is one of the favourites along with Adam Scott to lift the Stonehaven Cup on Sunday.
Green finished equal fifth with Scott at the 2006 Aussie Open but would be satisfied to simply make the cut this year.
"It is always in the back of every player's mind that there might be a good week in front of you," he said. "There is always that bit of hope. It got squashed pretty quickly at the last couple.
"I know my expectations. If I make the cut it is a solid week. The touch and the distance control is not as good as it was when I was playing full-time. It might only be one-or-two shots a round, but that adds up by the end of the week. I need my driver to fire around here. My iron play is generally thereabouts and my short irons are all right. It's about getting it in play consistently."
Green, who will have nephew Damon carrying his bag, is one of seven Hunter players alongside Andrew Dodt, Blake Windred, James Nitties, Nick Flanagan, Aaron Townsend and Dylan Perry in the field.
Dodt shot a course record 11-under par 61 in the second round of the NSW Open last week.
"I reckon Dodty will do well," Green said. "He does everything really well and is pretty long."
HUNTER TEE TIMES
1st hole: Dylan Perry (6.50am), James Nitties (7.20am).
10th hole: Blake Windred (6.45am), Nick Flanagan (11.45am), Andrew Dodt (11.55am), Nathan Green (12.05pm), Aaron Townsend (12.15pm).