One of Europe’s most in-form players, Poland’s Adrian Meronk is primed for his quest to win back-to-back Australian Open crowns.

Photographs by Antonin Kélian Kallouche

There is a Polish café on bustling Glebe Point Rd in Glebe, a trendy inner-city suburb of Sydney. It’s a highly rated restaurant called “Na Zdrowie” and it’s located just five minutes’ drive from The Star Casino, where Polish golf star Adrian Meronk will stay during his title defence at the 2023 ISPS Handa Australian Open.

“Na Zdrowie means ‘Cheers’ in Polish,” Meronk tells Australian Golf Digest. Whether everybody will know his name at Na Zdrowie when Meronk pays an inevitable visit during Open week is unclear. But winning back-to-back Australian Opens – a feat not achieved since Peter Lonard in 2003 and 2004 – would certainly go a long way to making the world No.46 a household name in Australian golf.

Meronk has a number of connections to Australia. Firstly, he’s a winner of our national championship. Secondly, his manager, Richard Rayment, is Australian. And perhaps most importantly, his girlfriend, Melania Bobrowicz, has cousins in Melbourne. The couple stayed with her Australian-based family last year when Meronk won the Stonehaven Cup on the Melbourne Sandbelt. Meronk finished at 14-under par and defeated homegrown heroes Adam Scott and Min Woo Lee by five and six shots, respectively, at co-hosts Kingston Heath and Victoria Golf Club. That same posse will be with Meronk in Sydney during this year’s Australian Open at The Lakes and The Australian golf clubs from November 30 to December 3.

“My girlfriend is coming down to Australia again this year,” Meronk says. “Last year, we stayed at her cousins’ [house] and they live, like, five minutes from Victoria Golf Club. So they were supporting me all week. We were eating Polish food and speaking Polish all week, so that was nice. They brought some friends [to the tournament] as well. They’re all coming to Sydney this year, so that’s going to be quite special. I’m excited.”


Meronk’s trip to Australia in 2022 was partly inspired by the advantage it would give him in the points standings for the European team that would be sent to the 2023 Ryder Cup in Italy in September. Meronk knew he would be playing a few more PGA Tour events in the US this year but didn’t want to lose ground in the points race. So he teed up in the 2022 Australian PGA at Brisbane’s Royal Queensland and our Open at Kingston Heath and Victoria. Both Australian tournaments are co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour and awarded points for European players towards the Ryder Cup team standings, which took in six automatic qualifiers.

After his success Down Under, Meronk went on to win the DP World Tour’s Italian Open at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in May. Marco Simone is the Rome course that only months later hosted the Ryder Cup. Thirty-year-old Meronk remained in the top six for most of the qualification period but, having played fewer events than some of the other candidates, he fell out and needed to wait to see if he’d be given a captain’s pick from European skipper Luke Donald. But Donald chose Ludvig Aberg, Tommy Fleetwood, Nicolai Hojgaard, Shane Lowry, Justin Rose and Sepp Straka as wildcards. They joined automatic qualifiers Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Robert MacIntyre, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick on the team.

Meronk was informed of his omission by Donald via phone while travelling to Ireland for Meronk’s title defence at the Irish Open in early September. Meronk gave an honest pre-tournament press conference at The K Club in which he said he was “shocked” at the decision not to give him a wildcard. Months later, speaking with Australian media ahead of the Australian Open, Meronk said he watched some of the Ryder Cup action on TV as the Europeans demolished the US side, 16.5-11.5. But he admits it wasn’t easy to be on the sidelines at home.

“It was a little bit hard, to be honest,” he says. “I watched Friday and Saturday in the morning when I was eating breakfast. I went to practice in the afternoon just to keep busy. Then on Sunday, I think I watched the whole [singles session]. It was tough to watch, especially at the [course] I know very well from when I won [the 2023 Italian Open]. That was the tricky part, but I’m glad it’s over.”

The man from Wroclaw says the Ryder Cup disappointment will not fuel his play for the remainder of 2023. In fact, Meronk has already let his clubs do the talking, having won the DP World Tour’s Estrella Masters in Spain a month after the Ryder Cup. It was Meronk’s third win of the 2022-2023 DP World Tour season and, at the time of writing, it hadn’t finished yet. The European Tour finale was still to come in Dubai.

“To be honest, now I’m over [the Ryder Cup rejection],” Meronk says. “I’m focused on my goal. I want to keep going forward, keep improving my [world] ranking. My goal is to finish top-two in the [DP World Tour] rankings. I’m focused on that but still, this year has been pretty good. I’m very happy about my game, how it’s progressing every year, and I want to focus on a strong finish to the season. It’s been a really good year. I played in all four of the majors and I won three times [on the DP World Tour]. I’m very happy about my game, how it’s progressing.”

Instead, Meronk’s inspiration Down Under will be putting on a show for the Australian fans, whom he won over with his brilliant final-round 66 in windy conditions at Victoria last year. He played in the final group with Scott.

“I really enjoyed my time in Australia and the courses,” he says. “The crowds were tough playing with the Aussies [like Scott, who was receiving all the cheers from the galleries]. But I still enjoyed it and still got quite a bit of support, which was amazing. I’m excited to be to be coming back this year.

“I hope [I get the same support in Sydney as I did in Melbourne]. We’ll see. Obviously, it’s a different city. I’ll definitely have a few people supporting me, but I hope some Aussies will support me as well. I love coming to Australia; I love the country, the people and the culture. It’s just such a cool place.”

Another motivation for Dubai-based Meronk to win another Australian Open crown is to try to experience the ‘majors bump’ recent international Australian Open winners have felt the next year. In 2013, McIlroy was in the middle of a slump but came down to Australia and defeated Scott on the final hole at Royal Sydney to claim the title. The next year, the Northern Irishman won the third and fourth instalments of his four total majors (the 2014 Open Championship and PGA). In 2014, Jordan Spieth captured the Australian Open at The Australian Golf Club with a final-round 63; the next year he broke through the majors barrier by winning the 2015 Masters and US Open. Spieth did it again in 2016, defeating Cameron Smith and Ash Hall in a playoff at Royal Sydney eight months before winning a third major at the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

“Yeah, that’d be amazing,” says Meronk, who finished T-40 at the PGA and T-23 at the Open Championship this year. “I think that might happen because Australian Opens have such strong fields. They have all of the best Aussie players and [some big international names] and to win is so tough. You have to play really good golf. It prepares you to play all the big tournaments, which I love about it.” 

Did you know?

  • The 2023 Australian Open will be a mixed event, holding the men’s, women’s and All Abilities championships concurrently.
  • The Australian Golf Club will host action all four days with nearby The Lakes Golf Club
    co-hosting the event for the
    first two days.
  • The men’s field will consist of 156 players, with 84 in the women’s field. Only one cut will be made, after 36 holes, reducing the field to the top 60 professionals plus ties in the men’s Open, and the top 32 professionals plus ties in the women’s Open. The All Abilities Championship will conclude on the Saturday.
  • The Lakes has hosted the Australian Open seven times (1964, 1980, 1992, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2018). The Australian will host its 22nd Open.