Ogilvy's game, like Woods, is a work in progress

By Rex HoggardMay 5, 2012, 9:45 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Stop us if you’ve heard this one.

PGA Tour type fights his swing, his psyche and finds himself two years removed from his last victory lap all the while telling anyone within a 9-iron that he’s close. So close, all he needs is the “reps.”

No, not Tiger Woods, but almost. This tale is about the guy who spent the first, and last, two days with “Red Shirt” at Quail Hollow Club this week – Geoff Ogilvy.

On Saturday the affable Aussie rounded the Carolina classic in a card-of-the-day 65 to vault into contention at the Wells Fargo Championship and, however inadvertently, strike a cord that is near and dear to Woods’ heart these days.

Ogilvy, like Woods, has been something of a work in progress for, say, the better part of two decades. Sure there was that Winged Foot Open where he was the last man standing on a bizarre Sunday and there have been multiple Tour tilts since then, but to hear him talk on a steamy Saturday afternoon at Quail Hollow one would have thought he’d just turned a corner in a long and grueling journey.

“It’s a trendy term these days, but I’ve always been stuck, which sucks when you’re doing it but you can only miss it to the right,” said Ogilvy, who was paired with Woods on Thursday and Friday in Charlotte. “I could only ever miss a shot to the right. I’d hit it straight or to the right.”

But the “tipping point” arrived late last year and Ogilvy started being able to draw the ball. It’s a simple enough concept, yet when asked how long he’d been working on the right-to-left shot he didn’t even crack a smile, “Twenty years.”

Way back, before Winged Foot and the PGA Tour Ogilvy began working with swing coach Dale Lynch at the famed Victoria Institute of Sport in Australia on hitting the ball left. But it was on Quail Hollow’s 18thhole Saturday that it all clicked, albeit at the worst possible moment.

Eight under for the day and just three strokes out of the lead Ogilvy’s drive at the last started down the middle of the fairway, drifted left and kept going, all the way into a creek.

He made bogey, but to hear him after the round one may have thought he won the lottery.

“Now I’m more on top of the ball and less stuck and hitting better shots and turning the ball over, which is a good thing most of the time,” said Ogilvy, whose last victory was the 2010 season opener at Kapalua. “It’s going to take just lots more play to get used to the fact.”

Which brings us back to Woods, the onetime Teflon champion who has been saddled with a “kick me” sign since he spiraled into a slump in late 2009.

Late Friday after missing just his eighth cut as a professional Woods intoned a familiar refrain when he was asked about the state of his swing.

“If you think about it, with Butch (Harmon) it took me two years and with Hank (Haney) it took me almost two years before old patterns are out,” Woods said. “It takes time to get rid of old patterns. It takes hundreds of thousands if not millions of golf balls, but eventually it comes around. I've had my share of successes, and I know it’s coming.”

For many fans and pundits time is not on Woods’ side.

Responding to Woods’ post-round comments on Friday Steve Elkington spoke for a vocal portion of the golf world on Twitter: “’Time to get rid of old patterns,’ Tiger said. ‘It takes hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of golf balls.’ // bull(****),” the 1995 PGA champion tweeted.

Our on-demand society disdains slow play in any form, particularly from its icons, and message boards are filled with arm-chair experts who have tired of Woods’ claim that it’s a “process.”

But as Ogilvy started for the locker room he paused to offer one final bit of insight that seemed strangely apropos to Woods’ current plight. “The tipping point came at some point last year,” he said. “Finally, one day you let yourself go and you’re like, ‘Look at that.’”

Woods doesn’t have 20 years to make Sean Foley’s swing his own – his climb to Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships has, on some level, reached the three-quarter pole of the race – but given the languid legacy of change, he certainly deserves more time to reach his “tipping point.”

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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm