Ogilvy Trying to Right Aussies Wrongs at Augusta

By Associated PressApril 3, 2007, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Nothing could drag Geoff Ogilvy out of bed before dawn when he was growing up.
Nothing, that is except the Masters.
On one day each year, he would be awake and settled in front of the television at 4 a.m., a full hour before coverage of the Masters even began in Australia.
'There's such a mystique about it,' Ogilvy said Monday. 'It's just so hard to imagine a place like this when you grow up in Australia and see it on TV. It's so far-fetched.'
Geoff Ogilvy
Geoff Ogilvy tied for 16th in his Masters debut a year ago. (WireImage)
So, it's seemed at times, was the idea of an Aussie winning at Augusta National.
The Masters is the one major championship the Australians have yet to win. Worse, it broke the heart of Greg Norman so many times the entire country still feels the ache.
The Shark was the dominant player of his era, a two-time major winner who held the No. 1 ranking longer than anyone until Tiger Woods came along. But it's his agony at the Masters that is his trademark.
Norman was a 4-iron into the gallery on 18 from winning in 1986. A year later, Larry Mize beat him in a playoff after an unbelievable chip from 140 feet. Then there was that debacle in 1996.
Taking a six-shot lead into the final round, Norman imploded with a 78 and finished five strokes behind Nick Faldo.
'I remember hitting balls that day, because it inspired me to not do that,' Ogilvy said. 'It's a weird way to get inspired, but I just got so fired up to practice that day because I thought, `If I ever get there, I don't want to do that.' Because that was hard to watch.'
There were no meltdowns when Ogilvy finally got to Augusta last year; he finished 16th.
Two months later, though, he found himself the winner of the U.S. Open after another famous player's Norman-esque collapse.
Phil Mickelson went to 18 at Winged Foot needing just a par to join Tiger Woods as the only players in the last 50 years to win three straight majors. But he overcut his drive, hit a tree with his second shot and found a plugged lie in a bunker with his third shot. His double bogey left him a stroke behind Ogilvy -- and made the Aussie a major champion.
Far more was made of Mickelson's meltdown than Ogilvy's victory, but Ogilvy didn't care.
'I didn't read a paper or watch TV for a few weeks after the U.S. Open on purpose, because I preferred to just sit at home and look at the trophy,' he said. 'Maybe if I win another one or two down the track in my career, it will give that one more credibility.
'But the trophy is making a nice little dust ring on my shelf at the moment.'
It's not as if Ogilvy was some one-hit wonder, either. Two months shy of his 30th birthday, he has three PGA TOUR victories. After his win at Winged Foot, he finished 16th at the British Open and was ninth at the PGA Championship.
This year, he's finished in the top 10 in three of the seven events he's played, including a tie for third at the CA Championship two weeks ago.
While Mickelson and Tiger Woods are the obvious favorites this week, Ogilvy is someone who certainly could give them a challenge if he plays well.
'Half the battle in majors is feeling like you can win,' he said. 'Because the first time you tee it up in one of these things, just playing in it is overwhelming. Thinking you can win is the first hurdle to being able to actually do it.
'You'll feel better about it on the weekend because I've been there kind of recently,' he added. 'Rather than a guy who has not been there or hasn't been there for quite a while.'
And he's not the only Aussie who could be a factor on Sunday, either.
Unlike Norman, who carried the flag for the entire country, there's a crowd of players from Down Under who could contend at Augusta. There are seven Australians in the Masters field, including Aaron Baddeley, who won the FBR Open in early February, and Adam Scott, who arrives fresh off a win over fellow Australian Stuart Appleby at the Houston Open.
Last year, Mickelson won his second green jacket after winning in Atlanta the previous weekend.
'I feel great about my game, but I'm certainly not predicting a win at Augusta. Although I'm feeling better now going into it than I did at the start of the week,' Scott said.
Indeed, all it takes is one good week, and Australia's long drought could finally be over.
'It's actually not a drought because it's never rained at all,' Ogilvy said, drawing laughs.
'Someone will do it,' he said, turning serious. 'Five years ago, there's one or two guys who might do all right in the Masters. There's five or six Australians that I could see legitimately wearing a green jacket on Sunday, and that's more than ever before.'
If Ogilvy or any of his fellow Aussies could break through this week, an entire country would rejoice.
Those painful memories of Norman wouldn't quite disappear, but they would certainly fade.
'Any tournament would be good to win,' Ogilvy said. 'This would be unbelievable.'
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Masters Tournament
    Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

    Getty Images

    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

    Getty Images

    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.

    Getty Images

    Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

    “Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

    “We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

    In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.