Ogilvy cruises to second Match Play title

By Rex HoggardMarch 1, 2009, 5:00 pm
2007- WGC-AccentureMARANA, Ariz. ' When Greg Norman concocted the world tour concept in the 1990s ' a notion that was eventually pinched, in form if not function, by the World Golf Championships ' Geoff Ogilvy must have been exactly the type of champion The Shark had in mind.
A renaissance man groomed on the classic Australian sand belt layouts who reinvented his game in the American style to facilitate his championship climb. A world player, having played more events outside the continental U.S. than within the American borders the last five months, with a flair for an international stage.
Geoff Ogilvy
Geoff Ogilvy raises the Walter Hagen trophy for the second time. (Getty Images)
By the time Ogilvy hoisted his second shot at the par-5 eighth hole into the cloudless desert sky during the p.m. portion of Sundays double-header against Paul Casey, the Aussie had already run an international table straight out of a United Nations directory.
In order, Ogilvy dispatched the best America, Japan, Colombia, Northern Ireland and finally England could muster at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, the latter a rousing victory that will be celebrated in Melbourne, Australia, with only slightly less vigor than an Australian win in the famed Ashes cricket matches.
Ogilvy coolly rolled in his 5-footer for eagle on the Ritz-Carlton Golf Clubs eighth, at the three-quarter pole he was 6 up on Casey and for the second consecutive year the 36-hole scheduled final match never reached the 34th hole.
Let the debate begin. If Ogilvy, a two-time Match Play champion, isnt the best match play player of his generation hes certainly the preeminent stand in, although the unassuming Aussie would have no part of such hyperbole as he collected his third WGC chalice March 1.
Last year I was the 33rd best match play player in the world, smiled Ogilvy, referring to first-round ouster at the 2008 Match Play.
Humility aside, its difficult, if not impossible, to ignore Ogilvys growing resume on the world stage, three WGCs, only Woods has more international crystal, and a U.S. Open trophy qualifies as much more than window dressing.
There was a particular synergy to Ogilvys 09 Match Play masterpiece. It was here in the Tucson hills in 2004 where the father of two arrived at the competitive epiphany that would propel him into the world order.
It was after the (Tucson Open), said Dale Lynch, who has been Ogilvys swing coach since the duos days at the Victorian Institute of Sport. We talked that he had to suit his wedge game to suit the type of courses they play in the U.S.
Always a solid ballstriker, the hole in the portfolio was in his short game, which, according to Lynch, started to occupy about 80 percent of his practice regimen. Twelve months later he collected his first Tour title, the Chrysler Classic of Tucson, and the following June Ogilvy won the U.S. Open with the same type of low spin, no divot chip on the 72nd hole at Winged Foot that hed been perfecting for over a year.
It was the same type of shot he used to roll through one of the deepest fields in golf at the Match Play. Among his victims was world No. 10 Camilo Villegas, a third-round 5-and-4 walkover, and up-and-coming European star Rory McIlroy, another 4-and-3 rout in the quarterfinals.
Curiously, Ogilvy didnt show up at Dove Mountain riding a wave of optimism, despite a season-opening victory at the Mercedes-Benz Championship.
Fresh off a tie for 30th at the Northern Trust Open, Lynch figured his man was a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10, but during his Friday match with Villegas something clicked. Ogilvy went straight to the practice range after the match to hone his swing, an oddity for a player who still spends the majority of his practice time chipping and putting.
It was the first time in a long time Id done that, especially with the possibility of 36 holes on Saturday, Ogilvy said. But golf is like that, you get a good feel, an inkling that something is there.
Ogilvy called his 72 holes on Maui his best ever. His 66-hole weekend at the Match Play cant be far behind. He edged McIlroy and Stewart Cink by 2-and-1 margins to earn his third trip in four starts to the Match Play final.
On Sunday, he was nearly flawless.
By the turn of the morning frame, Casey was 4 down and if not for a holed approach from 204 yards at the 10th the Englishman may have wanted to concede the afternoon 18.
Casey ' a member with Ogilvy at the posh Whisper Rock club in Scottsdale who joined his friend for a scouting trip to the Ritz-Carlton course early last month ' cut the lead at halftime to three holes, but he would never get any closer.
By the time Ogilvys approach at the eighth hole in the afternoon trundled to 5 feet, his friend was already an afterthought, and Caseys desperate attempt at a comeback on the final nine was little more than a delaying tactic.
He just sort of laughs at you and carries on, Casey said. I did enjoy walking down the fairway having a chat with him, when I wasnt pulling my hair out trying to figure out how to beat him.
The finale ended on the 15th hole, Ogilvy a 4-and-3 champion, in front of a few hundred hardy fans who braved the desert. The quiet conclusion was a striking contrast to how the week started, with a pre-dawn buzz that rivaled a Beatles reunion tour and the first glimpse of Tiger Woods swing in eight months.
Although it turned out to be a short work week for Woods, he looked steady in his debut after season-ending knee surgery last June. The world No. 1 rolled over Brendan Jones in his tune-up match but ran into his match play nemesis, a hot-putting foreigner with competitive blinders in Round 2. This time around it was Tim Clark filling the role, whom Ogilvy only half-jokingly thanked in his champions press conference.
Without Woods the field likely took a collective breath, but considering Ogilvys play it might have been premature. Although he entered the Match Play ranked eighth in the world ' a misplaced assessment considering the quality, not the quantity, of his victories ' Ogilvys status among his contemporaries is much loftier than his ranking suggests.
When Geoff plays the golf he played today you have to put him in that (top) category, Casey said. He doesnt change. His demeanor doesnt waver, which is a huge attribute, especially in match play.
As Casey headed back to the clubhouse lamenting another near-miss on American soil, a spectator wandered by with a Love Kills Slowly T-shirt, the iconic image from avant-garde artist Ed Hardy. Casey must have been thinking so does Ogilvy.

Related Links:
  • Match Play Scoring
  • Match Play Bracket
  • Full Coverage ' WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
  • Full Coverage ' Tiger's Return
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    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

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    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.”

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    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.