Big-game player Ogilvy set to defend at Doral

By Associated PressMarch 12, 2009, 4:00 pm
2007 WGC CA ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. - Geoff Ogilvy is a mystery, sometimes even to himself.
All five of his wins since 2006 have come in events with prestige, like a World Golf Championship event, a U.S. Open or the winners-only Mercedes-Benz Championship. Ogilvy cant explain why, nor does he grasp his outrageous 18-3 record in head-to-head competition, capped by his second win at Match Play earlier this month.
Im not really sure whether I have a better frame of mind in a big tournament, Ogilvy said. I definitely enjoy big tournaments. Not that I dont enjoy all golf tournaments, but I enjoy big tournaments more.
Here comes another one.
Ogilvy will aim to defend his title in the CA Championship starting Thursday at Doral, where someone in the 80-player, no-cut field will earn $1.4 million. The guy with the most attention, as always, will be Tiger Woods, who has won at Doral in three of the past four years and is in a stroke-play event this week for the first time since outlasting Rocco Mediate in last summers U.S. Open.
Ogilvy led virtually wire-to-wire last year, actually sleeping on the lead four times, thanks to rain delays necessitating a Monday finish.
My best week last year, for sure, Ogilvy said.
That win, combined with his dominance at Match Play two weeks ago (in Woods return event following knee surgery) left the all-time WGC victory standings looking like this:
1. Woods, 15.
2. Ogilvy, 3.
So Woods stranglehold atop that list obviously wont end anytime soon, if ever. If nothing else, Ogilvy has clearly proven that when the stakes are high, he can compete.
I always said to him, The day that you stop beating yourself up, youll be one of the greatest golfers in the world, fellow Australian Robert Allenby said of Ogilvy. And look, about three years ago, he stopped beating himself up.
And started beating a lot of people.
Ogilvy was the 52nd seed in the 64-man bracket at Match Play in 2006, and went to extra holes in each of his first four matches. He won then all, then beat Tom Lehman and Davis Love III for the title. He won the U.S. Open that summer, won at Doral last year and already has two wins in five starts this season.
Hes very quiet and unassuming, said Stewart Cink, who lost to Ogilvy in this years Match Play semifinals. Hes not a loudmouth. Hes not out there. Hes not flashy. His game is real simple, but hes got power, a good short game, and he doesnt do anything fancy. As far as Im concerned, he is in the elite group.
Hell need to be this week, where the field is a whos-who of todays game.
Start with Woods, who rallied from two shots down entering the final round at Doral to beat Phil Mickelson in 2005 and reclaimed the world No. 1 ranking, which hes held ever since. Woods held off Camilo Villegas and David Toms to win again in 2006, then beat Brett Wetterich by two in 2007. Ogilvy was tied for third that week, four shots behind Woods.
Woods was razor-sharp then. Now, heres merely sharpening up for the Masters.
Ive only played two tournaments in what '10 months? Not a whole lot of golf, Woods said. So for me, I just need rounds under my belt, and this week will obviously be a very positive week for me ' four rounds and no cuts, which is exactly what I need.
Since leaving Doral last year, Woods has played 11 rounds of tournament golf.
Sergio Garcia has a chance to replace him at No. 1 in the world this week if he wins the CA Championship and Woods finishes 27th or worse. Woods has never been out of the top 10 at Doral, but no one really knows what to expect.
Im ready to win, Woods said. Thats why Im here.
Of course, same goes for Ogilvy.
He didnt play much golf last week, instead taking a few days off to recover from the grind of Match Play. That hardly meant he wasnt thinking about the game, though.
Ogilvy is as baffled as anyone why the approach he takes into Match Play doesnt always carry over into stroke play. The object of the game doesnt change ' getting the ball into the hole with as few shots as possible ' but Ogilvys mindset at Doral wont be the same as it was two weeks ago.
Woods put it in these terms: The object of stroke play is giving yourself a chance to win on Sunday, whereas in Match Play, its always Sunday, because its the final round for the loser. Ogilvy sees it the same way.
In a stroke-play event, you dont play against specifically the guys right next to you, Ogilvy said. I mean, you are playing against your playing partners, but youre almost teammates with your playing partners the first few days of a tournament. Its less intense, I guess. Match play is very intense from the first hole.
And Ogilvy is a guy who thrives on intensity.
Put it this way: If theres someone on the treadmill next to him, Ogilvy sets his machine to move 1 mph faster.
Its quite a difference in mindset, but not any difference in preparation, Ogilvy said. Just try to be playing as good as I can.
In big events, thats often good enough.
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.