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Steve Elkington returning to Australian golf

For more than a decade Steve Elkington and Australian golf have had an uneasy relationship.

Since he won the 1992 Australian Open Elkington has played only a handful of tournaments in his native country and hasn't appeared in Australia at all since the Presidents' Cup in 1998.

But, with his family growing up and with his own attitude having mellowed somewhat, the man with one of the sweetest swings in the game is back home with a new commitment to Australian golf.

And he's returned with a few ideas that challenge some of the game's greatest institutions.

Elkington will play the Australian Masters at Huntingdale this week, his first four-round tournament in Melbourne since 1995 when he got annoyed over the lack of prominence he received in promotion for that year's Open.

"I think there were others who were more upset about what happened than I was," Elkington said.

"That's not why I haven't played here that much."

Neither is it because local grasses used to give him severe hayfever.

The main reason Elkington has placed Australia low on his list of priorities has been his children.

"At this time of the year they've wanted to do all the winter things that kids do in America," he said.

"But now they're older they are really keen to come here and see the place I came from."

So is their father.

"It's so good to get back," he said.

"Since I've been here I've had trouble taking my eyes of all the stuff I grew up with - the parrots, the great golf courses, everything except the flies."

While Elkington still has a certain lack of regard for this country's peak golfing body, the Australian Golf Union (AGU), there are other issues in the game that bother him more.

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