Geoff Ogilvy Talks: Accenture Matchplay
US PGA Tour | 2009 Accenture Match Play Championship | Grand Final | 02 Mar 2009
Chris Reimer: Geoff Ogilvy, the winner of the match first off, congratulations, Geoff. It is your second win at this event. Third World Golf Championship win. What are you going to remember from this week?
Geoff Ogilvy: I don’t know. Lots of things. Winning the tournament, I guess. I beat some really good players, especially the last three days.
Camilo has come a very long way in a very short time. He’s obviously a top-10 player in the world. Rory is about to be a top-10 player in the world. Stewart Cink is has had an unbelievable last 18 months and is obviously a great player in this tournament. And to beat Paul is, again, one of the great players in the world, great at this format as well.
The thing I’ll remember is I beat some really good players and I beat the world because I played really, really well the last three or four days. So how well I played on the weekend, I played better and better during the week. Every round I played better, which doesn’t often happen with golf. So it’s a really nice progression like that.
Q: Which of the two, Geoff, are more satisfying? In the one I think you had to look at 10 putts that could have knocked you out of the tournament, and really survived. This one you really only had one brush with death, if you will. Which one do you take more out of?
Geoff Ogilvy: That was – I probably gained more as a golfer in 2006, because that was my first big tournament. I went extra holes four times. I made a bunch of putts that if I missed I was out of the tournament that week.
I got up-and-down a bunch of times. I just did a lot of stuff where I was do it or you go home, and I got all that done. And that was the first time, obviously the first WGC, and the first really big tournament that I had won. So that was really satisfying.
I don’t know. I get a lot out of this week, as I said, because I played so well this weekend. I beat some really, really good players, playing well. So I don’t know. They’re both good in their own way.
Q: I know I asked you this a month ago, but I was hoping for an update. Your stock has risen the last four years. Where do you see yourself in the pecking order?
Geoff Ogilvy: I don’t know. That’s not really for me to decide it’s for you guys to decide where I sit in the pecking order.
Q: Hasn’t changed then?
Geoff Ogilvy: I think I’m a pretty decent player.
I played in some pretty good tournaments.
Q: We were hoping you would go more Poulter on us.
Geoff Ogilvy: Well there’s a few guys in the world who are obviously well in front of me: Tiger, Phil, Sergio, Harrington. So there’s four. So I’m at least fifth. Sergio hasn’t got a Major, but Sergio’s won a lot of big tournaments.
Q: How many WGC’s has he won?
Geoff Ogilvy: I’m in that area somewhere.
Q: We can argue your case better than that?
Geoff Ogilvy: Tiger, Phil, and Padraig, and then I’m in the next bunch, probably.
Q: Actually you’re actually fourth. Number 4 in the world.
Geoff Ogilvy: Well, that’s nice, yeah. Yeah.
Q: Long day, lot of holes, but can you take us through the 11th hole this morning?
Geoff Ogilvy: Yeah, that was a bit of a – I mean, a textbook match-play hole, really. He drove it in a bad spot. He just holed a 6-iron on the 10th, which was not very nice of him.
And then he drove it in the bunker, and then I laid up on the hole because if you hit in the fairway bunker, you can’t get over the wash for two and you’re going to have some sort of wood in for your third.
So I lay it up, and I hit my next one, my second shot into a cholla, which is one of the gnarly cactuses you can get in Arizona.
It was in such a bad spot that I didn’t even get the ball out. And Mark Russell said, if you can’t get the ball, you don’t – to take an unplayable, you don’t have to get the ball, you can drop a new ball and I chose not to put my hand anywhere near it.
Dropped it way back in the desert, hit it just short of the green. Paul, who is behind the eight ball off the tee now all of a sudden is in a better spot, but he hit his third shot from way back left in a really bad spot. Chipped it up to 15 feet? Something like that.
And then I chipped in from the front of the green for par when I’m sure he was standing there thinking I’ll be unlucky to not win this hole. So I ended up winning the hole. He missed his par putt.
So looked like me off the tee and then it looked like Paul for the rest of the hole, and then all of a sudden I chip in and it flipped around again. So it was one of those textbook, almost a comedy of errors match-play hole that ended my way.
Q: Did Squirrel have to reach in and get it? You didn’t have him reach in either, did you?
Geoff Ogilvy: You can get at it with the club, I guess, but Mark just said, don’t worry about it. Just – no one, you don’t reach into a cholla if you don’t have to, I don’t think.
Q: Did you find it harder or easier to play a good friend in such a big tournament?
Geoff Ogilvy: It’s harder. It’s not that nice. I’ve obviously been on the wrong end of this final before and it’s not a very nice feeling.
You feel like you put in so much hard work and spend so much time, it’s a really long week and you feel a bit short-changed when you come out on the wrong side of this final.
Yeah, so it’s not – you would definitely rather play an enemy – you would rather play someone that you don’t know. You know, it’s easier to kind of bear down if you don’t know a guy. So if you know a guy really well, it makes it a little difficult.
Q: When you won this 2006 at La Costa, you were talking about how you used to disparage yourself and get down on yourself, and then all of a sudden since then, you seem to be – then you won the U.S. Open later that year. Was it a mental situation that all of a sudden you overcame? And I understand that the Australian press was down on you. The expectations were so high. I just wonder if you just sort of escaped all that when you won at La Costa the first time and just moved into where you are now.
Geoff Ogilvy: There was no real moment of clarity or epiphany or whatever. You want to say it was a very gradual process from being generally not very nice to myself on the golf course to being quite nice to myself on the golf course.
It was a gradual process. You don’t change your – being negative on a golf course is a habit. It becomes habitual. You just start – it just becomes you hit a shot and complain about it, and that’s just the way you play golf.
So it takes a while to change that, and it had been coming for a while before La Costa. And I still have my moments. But the Australian press has been much nicer to me in the last three or four years.
Q: With the win-or-go-home format of match play, how beneficial was it for you to be in close matches throughout earlier in the week, going 19 holes the first couple of days, winning 2 & 1 a couple days ago?
Geoff Ogilvy: Yeah, it is. It bodes well for later in the week, I think, definitely, when I go down 19 my first two games.
So when it did get kind of tight and got late in there against Camilo and Rory, I’ve already done that. I guess if you’re winning big, if you’re winning big all the week and then you end up getting pushed, you haven’t actually done that, I mean you can actually – the first year we played down here I didn’t see the 18th until Sunday morning until we finished our 18th hole. I had never played the hole.
Well, in a practice round, but – so it’s – you don’t want to go down 19 and have tight matches early in the week but it probably does help play in the week, for sure, because it gets you back into that sort of sudden death kind of mindset, I guess.
Q: Do you ever get confused for and mistaken for Joe Ogilvie anymore, and if so, do you think that you’re doing a good job of kind of putting that in the past by what you’ve done here in the last year?
Geoff Ogilvy: I don’t get mistaken for him very much. We still share stuff in our lockers every now and then, and there will be a slip of the tongue every now and then. People will yell out, go Joe, and stuff.
But I don’t really think it’s a mistake in identity anymore. I just think it’s – it’s not a Freudian slip, is it? It’s just a slip of the tongue, it’s a – what do you call it? I don’t know.
Q: Slip of the tongue?
Geoff Ogilvy: Slip of the tongue.
Q: You don’t get Warren Buffett’s letter in your locker, do you?
Geoff Ogilvy: I don’t get that letter, no. We probably all need that letter at the moment, would be a good one.
Q: When you look at, in match play, and being so good at match play, if you look at the makeup, the psychological makeup of you, do you feel like this morning, for instance, that first hole he hits it close, you hit it close, you make, he misses, and then later he was just in here earlier, Paul was in here saying the thing about Geoff that’s difficult is that I never feel like I’m getting to him. His demeanor doesn’t change, he walks the same, he acts the same. I hole out a 6-iron, and he just keeps on going like he laughs at you almost. Is there something, do you think, about the way psychologically that you have managed to sort of conquer this concept of match play?
Geoff Ogilvy: I don’t think I’ve conquered match play. I think I have made a concerted effort to stay on an even keel in match play. It’s much more important, I think, in match play than it is in stroke play, because when you’re playing 156 other guys or you’re playing next to 156 other guys, they don’t give two hoots about what you feel about your 8-iron into the fourth hole.
But when you’re playing the guy right there, a lot of match play is feeling like you’re beating him, whether you are, it’s feeling like you’re getting on top of a guy, and it is under your control to not let him feel like that. That is in your control. You can behave however you want, so if you behave like he’s getting to you, that’s going to make him play better potentially.
So it’s definitely a concerted effort to not let the guy know what’s going on inside my head.
Q: Is there something going on inside your head?
Geoff Ogilvy: Yeah, crazy stuff I guess.
Q: How did you come to live here in Tucson? How long have you lived here? Well, not Tucson, the area, the southwest desert? And obviously you won your first tournament just down the hill a bit. Second here a couple years ago. What is the desert thing, do you think, that works so well for you?
Geoff Ogilvy: I guess when you come – when you arrive in the U.S. from somewhere outside, as a golfer have, you a choice, probably the bottom half of the country if you’re a golfer, for the weather. State tax is an issue, I guess, yeah. Climate is the biggest issue. The obvious ones are like California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida are the places where foreigners tend to go live.
Florida was always a place Australians used to go. But I had some friend who lived in Scottsdale already who got there before me, so I came to Scottsdale and thought I’ll give it a try and loved it.
Q: How long?
Geoff Ogilvy: 2001. I think. Maybe.
Q: Who were the friends at the time?
Geoff Ogilvy: Mathew Goggin was already here playing on TOUR. Craig Spence, who is, off the TOUR now. Steve Allan lived here at the time. Aaron Baddeley was already around here at the time hanging around Scottsdale. So a few Australians.
And you tend to, when you’re foreigners, you tend to go where some of your country people are. Whether you should or not, you do. Everyone does, really. So I went and I never left.
Q: Any idea why you’re the current, modern-day Johnny Miller guy in the desert type thing?
Geoff Ogilvy: I don’t know. I’m horrible in the Phoenix Open. And that was his best tournament, wasn’t it?
Q: He won Tucson four times.
Geoff Ogilvy: Oh, did he? Well I enjoy the desert. I wish we played here more, for sure.
Q: You had some – you had putts to win the hole, every hole on the front nine, but early on there was some really good chances, 2, 3 and 4. I’m wondering if you feel like if you don’t convert those when they come one after another if that could almost be a loss of momentum as if some had been made, and if you were feeling any pressure to get that done.
Geoff Ogilvy: This afternoon?
Q: Early morning.
Geoff Ogilvy: Early morning.
Not really. Because 36 holes is so long, you obviously want to win every hole that you play. And you want to be up all day and you want to do what Tiger did last year and shake hands after the 27 holes or whatever it was. You want to do that.
But 36 is so long, the first 36-hole final I ever played was like the state amateur championship at home, and I lost the first four holes. I remember being all sorts of upset about it, like how am I going to get this back? It’s ridiculous.
But I ended up winning like 7 and 6, which wasn’t that ridiculous, because you got 20-something holes to go. I had 32 holes to play.
So that, doing that, that was what I was when I was about 18 or 19. And I would always draw back on that. And when I played Henrik here a couple years ago and lost, I think I lost maybe the first three holes maybe, but I was 2-up after five or six holes of the afternoon, four or five holes.
Well, I was only – I was not that far down, and it felt like I was in control of the match. So the first few holes were very important, but as far as momentum that early, I don’t know if momentum plays that big a part when you’ve got 36 holes to play.
Q: What was that tournament.
Geoff Ogilvy: The Victoria Amateur Championship.
Q: Given that you won this tournament for the first time in 2006, went on to win a Major later that year, I was wondering how superstitious you are as a player.
Geoff Ogilvy: Not really at all, actually. It was nice that the U.S. Open is back in New York, which would be symmetrical.
No, I’m not too superstitious. I just – it would be great if that was the way life worked, but hopefully it works that way, but I’ll – we’ll see.
Q: You closed him out on the 15th, a hole that was, I think it was pretty good to you this week. You made eagle there the other day. Can you just talk about that hole? Did you like it when you first saw it?
Geoff Ogilvy: Yeah, it’s a cool hole. When we actually played the practice round, because they built the hole, hospitality thing on the back tee, we completely misread it and in our yardage book. We actually thought it was about 360 yards, so when we played it and it’s 300 to the front or something.
So the practice round I kind of got a bit thrown off. But it’s a cool hole for the format, because the tee is up and you can’t not go for it. There’s some trouble around it. It’s really not a very nice up-and-down on the right-hand side, where you pretty much hit it every time.
Yeah, it’s a cool hole. Drivable par-4s are getting – it’s been getting very trendy at the moment to move a mid length par-4 and move the tee way up. But in this format it definitely lends itself. It definitely lends itself to the concluding stages of any golf tournament when you make guys make decisions. Yeah, it’s cool of the it was good to me, most of the time. I hit a – against Shingo I hit it a hundred yards left of the green in the desert but ended up halving the hole.
Q: Did you know there was out of bounds there?
Geoff Ogilvy: Way left?
Geoff Ogilvy: Oh, right. Well only when Tiger hit it out there. And he hit it – I can’t hit it that far.
Q: No. 11 on the first 18, is that an example of the self belief you talk of? Was there a time when if you had had that shot it would have just played with your mind and you would have been thinking lots of negative things that would have affected the hole?
Geoff Ogilvy: Maybe, yeah. I guess it’s a perfect example of the hole is never over. I kind of – I was in a good position on the hole and I completely messed it up and it looked like I would lose the hole. If I went around and was negative I had a fair chance of not chipping it in.
So hopefully, I mean I guess I stayed pretty calm about it. It was harder to hit good shots and chip it in when you are angry about it, but, hopefully, that’s why I try to stay in a good mood.
Q: Over the past four months I think it’s fair to argue that you’ve been perhaps the best golfer in the world. You have flashes of brilliance all your career, but what do you put down this consistently long stretch to?
Geoff Ogilvy: I don’t know. I don’t know. I probably enjoy golf quite a lot at the moment. I had a really good break after St. Louis last year. I tumbled in the FedExCup and didn’t make it to Atlanta, so I was pretty grumpy with golf at that point. At least six weeks off. At least. I hardly touched a club. I didn’t even touch one. And then ever since I’ve done that I haven’t over played I haven’t over practiced I’ve just tried to really enjoy it.
It still comes and goes. I don’t know, really. I just – when you’re playing well, confidence just builds. And I’m not overplaying. Sometimes or overpracticing, I’m just kind of going with it.
Q: You’ve won 85 percent of your matches in all formats, not including the Victoria Amateur, obviously, is it fair to say that you’re the best match play player in the world?
Geoff Ogilvy: This week I probably was. Last year I was 33rd best match player in the world.
Q: So first to first and second to 33. That’s pretty good.
Geoff Ogilvy: This tournament’s been pretty good to me. I don’t know. There might be players who don’t get into this tournament who are better match play players than me. But I have played very well in this tournament in the last few years. I’m obviously one of the better match players.
Q: How would you, how do you think you would stack up with Tiger? I mean obviously stroke play you’ve beaten him a couple times that I can think of anyway. Would you fare better against him do you think in the long run stroke play or match play?
Geoff Ogilvy: I don’t know. He seems, when he gets deep into this tournament, quite hard to beat. If you got to beat him, you beat him early, which he tends to go out early, if he makes it through a few rounds he tends to go all the way, I think. Is that fair enough?
Which is like him in stroke play, the closer he gets to the end, the more likely he is to win it, if he’s in the lead.
I don’t know. Hopefully – I think I would do okay. I don’t think he’s a – he is the best match player in the world in the last 15 years, I mean the guy won three U.S. Juniors, three U.S. Amateurs, I mean and what three or four of these? Three of these. I mean you guys are the writers, you know.
So it would be fun. It would be fun hopefully – you do, coming to this tournament he was on my quarter, Tim helped us all out. He was in my quarter, so I did know, I do look forward to that match like that. Hopefully we can do it one day for sure.
Q: During your grumpy period last year, did you have a talk with yourself or was it sort of a gradual emotional mending by just being away?
Geoff Ogilvy: Just getting away was nice. I had a good run up through the U.S. Open and played quite well at Torrey I was kind of a bit of a side show, I guess, in that tournament, but I was still in it with about nine holes to play. So I really was playing well at that point. And then played horrible from – where did we play last year? Birkdale, to St. Louis. Just terrible. I don’t know what the deal was. And I was so frustrated with golf I just – I wasn’t working on anything different, I’m not doing anything different, it was a decompress to just get away and not do anything else. Back in Australia a lot.
Q: No epiphany, no moment of clarity?
Geoff Ogilvy: The further each day that you don’t have to frustrate over the golf course the happier you get with it.
Q: We’re familiar with that.
Geoff Ogilvy: And then, I mean, it’s starting to feel good again, you know, after a few weeks off and this is why I play golf, so you go from there.
Q: In Australia obviously this has been, this has been a huge search for the next Greg and Adam and that and everyone just goes through this grinder and of course nobody really measured up because maybe there isn’t one, but do you feel that your credentials are such that you, really, if there is a next Greg Norman, it’s Geoff Ogilvy?
Geoff Ogilvy: Well there’s no next Greg Norman. There just won’t be. Even if Greg was, won a few tournaments and was ranked 10th in the world he still would have been big time because he’s that type of personality. He just is – charisma, you know, you either have it or you don’t. I think he had it more than most people have ever had it. Arnold Palmer-like. Like, just walk into a room and you can tell he’s there even, he just had something.
I’m obviously, I probably am playing the best of the Australians at the moment. But I don’t think that there will be a next Greg Norman. I think each of us is going to take away from each other a bit too. When Greg was the best Australian in the world Finchy and them were floating around and Elkington, but Greg was a standout guy. I think we have got three or four or five guys who could sit in the top 15 in the world for a lot of the next 10 or 15 years. So I think we’ll all take a little bit away from each other and hopefully just blanket the rankings.
Q: Tiger earlier in the week said these greens were quite severe. What’s the difference between big curvaceous greens like these and big curvy greens like at Augusta National?
Geoff Ogilvy: The greens at Augusta look like they’re supposed to – they look like – they look right. Most of them are built on the hill that they’re on, their natural looking slopes, it doesn’t look like people moved too much dirt to make those greens.
These ones look a little contrived. And they’re a bit – Augusta has the bigger sweeping kind of more natural looking hills. These ones have a few little steep things and such.
But it’s probably almost genius greens. I mean, all the best golf courses in the world have really slopey greens. So you can see what he’s trying to do. Greens are getting too flat probably because greens are getting too fast. You couldn’t design Augusta right now, every player would walk off if we walked into Augusta the first time we had ever seen it, played a brand new golf course, we would all quit after nine holes. We would all say, “I can’t play this, it’s ridiculous.”
So you feel for Jack a little bit because you’re not allowed to do it any more. But they look – I don’t mind big slopes. I just don’t – they just don’t look as natural as Oakmont or Saint Andrews or Augusta like the truly natural slopey ones.
Q: Up until you won in Tucson in 2005 did you ever look at yourself as an underachiever and if so, based on results only I would say and then if so at what point do you feel like you were living up to your potential and why are you grinning?
Geoff Ogilvy: I felt like I could have been doing better than I was. If that’s the definition of under achieving. It probably is, yeah.
Q: Pretty close.
Geoff Ogilvy: So there were periods there where I was, I knew I was a better player than my results were suggesting. Right now I think I’m achieving quite well. I know I can play a lot better. I played very well this weekend – I played the best 72 holes I’ve ever played at Kauri and I played this weekend, especially the last two days, it’s almost as if I played almost as good this week as I had there.
So I could definitely, there’s definitely still some improvement there, I’m not going to say that I haven’t played really well this week, but there’s definitely improvement in my bad weeks, so I still think I can be a better player, maybe not – well I can be a better player when I’m playing badly. Does that make sense?
So I still think I’ve got a chance to grow. Tiger and those guys, that’s why he wins tournaments when he’s playing badly. I don’t get anywhere remotely close to winning a tournament when I’m playing badly. So those aspects I think I can do a lot of improvement.
Chris Reimer: Return in two weeks to the CA Championship to defend. Talk about heading there now with this win under your belt and what it’s going to be like to return there.
Geoff Ogilvy: Yeah, well obviously exciting to return to defend a golf tournament. To go back to where you’ve played well. I played well the year before too, so the last couple of years I had a great time at Doral. It’s a cool tournament. They get a great atmosphere. I’m looking forward to it.
Yeah, this is the closest we have had two WGC’s together, I think, so we get a week off, sleep a lot this week, this week coming up. No, looking forward to it. It’s obviously one of the biggest tournaments in the world. Doral is another historic venue on TOUR, I guess, at least since the ’60s, they have been going there pretty much every year for 40 something years. So yeah, Tiger will obviously be there, Camilo creates a big fuss in Miami, so it will be fun.
Chris Reimer: Thanks, Geoff and congratulations again.
Geoff Ogilvy: Thank you.
Source – WGC