Insider: Rooting for a good story in Ogilvy

text size
Increase Text Size
Decrease Text Size
Franklin/Getty Images
Geoff Ogilvy, a winner of three World Golf Championships, is getting some swagger back in time for Cadillac.
March 06, 2013

By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent

Full disclosure; I like Geoff Ogilvy.

He's one of the smarter players on the PGA TOUR -- and might be the single best interview. Every time I ask him something, I learn something. He tells me things I don't know or can't see on a golf course.

So, when I saw Geoff during a practice round at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, I walked over to him to say hello, remarking I hadn't seen or talked with him in a while.

Ogilvy's reply surprised me.

"You haven't seen or talked with me because I've been scuffling at the bottom of leaderboards."

It is true, players who are in contention to win get more attention than the rest of the field and Ogilvy hadn't contended for the past couple months. In fact, he was in a stretch of missing four straight cuts.

I told Geoff that of all my concerns in the world, the quality of his play ranked near the bottom of that list. His ability to win again wasn't a possibility -- it was an inevitability.

I am always impressed with Ogilvy's game. His tempo and cadence on a golf course are remarkable. He swings his wedge with the same rhythm and effort as he does a 3-iron. Ogilvy doesn't just walk down the fairways, he sort of glides with an easy stride that mimics the tempo of his swing.

I have seen Geoff play a lot of good golf. We have a running joke that every time I walk with him during a tournament he plays well.

Ogilvy's response, "Walk with me every week then."

So when I saw Geoff at Pebble Beach, I was more struck with his waning confidence than the mechanics of his swing.

Here's a player who won a U.S. Open, has seven PGA TOUR victories and yet, you could tell he was frustrated.

A player once told me, "When I'm playing well I know it's not going to last, and when I'm in a slump I'm afraid it will last forever."

Losing confidence is the single worst thing that can happen to a TOUR player. It's far more serious than any mechanical problem with a golf swing. The only way to get confidence is to play well and you can't play well without confidence.

The healing process usually begins with a single shot. A player will flush an iron, will make a putt or chip-in a birdie and slowly the confidence builds. However, that whole scenario must be a very dark and scary place to a player whose whole career depends on a confident attitude.

Confidence is the most precious commodity on the PGA TOUR.

Ogilvy regained some swagger last week at The Honda Classic. After those four missed cuts, he shot 69 on Sunday to finish second. That high finish got him into this week's World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship and a little closer to a Masters invitation.

I don't root for individual players on the PGA TOUR, but I do root for good stories and Geoff Ogilvy is always a good story.

Observations

Final hole: There is actually very little monster in the "Blue Monster" unless you are talking about the 18th hole. When the wind blows, I think you can make the argument it's the toughest finishing hole on the PGA TOUR. The 467-yard par 4 has no bail-out. There is no safety net off the tee.

Water is in play down the left side, and there is jungle on the right. In 2012, the 18th was played 293 times and gave up only 16 birdies. Watch as players prepare to hit their tee shots at the 18th on Sunday. A whole week's work can come down to that one swing.

You're fired: The Donald is in charge. Donald Trump now owns Trump Doral and is very much a hands-on owner. It's a tribute to his attentiveness that so much time and money has gone into preparing the golf course this week because the entire venue gets a remake for 2014.

The golf course will be overhauled starting Monday. There had to be a temptation to cut down on expenses since everything is going to be changed anyway, but that isn't the case.

Fast: It's always a red flag for players when the golf course is playing fast early in the week. Usually, the fairways are lush on Tuesday and firm by Friday. This course is already playing fast, which means balls will be running through fairways into the bermuda rough. There will be a premium on accurate driving this week.

Winner, winner: The streak ends this week. Americans have won every tournament this year on the PGA TOUR. This week I like a trio of foreigners: Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Charl Schwartzel. A trio of great ballstrikers who play well in the wind. Schwartzel gets the nod because of recent form and past performance.

The South African wasn't spectacular last week at The Honda Classic and still finished ninth. He was fourth at Trump Doral last year and second in 2010. I'm picking him again this week to win the Cadillac Championship.

Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.

Print This Story