Average Joe May One Day Be Commisioner


US Bank Championship in MilwaukeeMILWAUKEE -- Joe Ogilvie tries to absorb everything Warren Buffett has to say while they dine at the billionaires favorite steakhouse in Omaha.
He also hopes to have a golf grouping someday that includes Buffett, Microsofts Bill Gates and his father for a friendly day on the links.
Ogilvie has high aspirations for his career, too.
He says that his time as a pro will end relatively soon because the 34-year-old Duke economics grad wants to move into another role, maybe working toward becoming commissioner of the PGA TOUR.
I wouldnt go work for the tour to try to be the No. 9 guy at the tour. Thats something that I think if I decided to go that route, its something Id want to be on track for, Ogilvie said Monday.
Ogilvie comes off as a sharp executive working on a casual Friday. Dressed in a blue blazer without a tie, he alternates between leaning forward on his more important points and rocking back to ponder questions.
Yes, hes mainly talking about defending his only tour title in July that he won last year at the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee, but he also hints that golf is just a phase in his life.
Im going to definitely be a golfer for the next eight to 10 years, but at the same time I realize that even though golf for a lot of guys is forever, I dont think for me its going to be, Ogilvie said. I want to have different things going so when the curtain closes I can kind of gracefully walk into something else, maybe pick up without missing a beat.
And maybe thats sometime after PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem eventually steps down. Finchem currently has a six-year contract through 2012, and Ogilvie has already seen a lot of the work done behind the scenes.
As one of four players on the PGA TOURs nine-member Policy Board, Ogilvie has been part of discussions that included enacting drug testing, the FedExCup playoffs, standardizing invitational tournaments and tweaking the retirement plan.
The board, which also includes pros Stewart Cink, Brad Faxon and David Toms along with four volunteer independent businessmen and a PGA of America director, has also made the TPC Network stronger and witnessed Finchems negotiations with several TV networks.
All of it has come at a cost to Ogilvies golf game'hes currently 114th in the FedExCup standings'and his family back home in Austin, Texas.
From a time commitment standpoint, it takes a lot more time to do it right, said Ogilvie, wholl take a one-year break in 2009 from the board but plans to return in 2010. The average tour player probably relates to me a little bit more than they relate to those other guys. So, consequently, they look at me as a little more accessible. They certainly talk about their grievances a little more freely with me and a little more often with me.
Ogilvie has strong opinions on golfs major issues, including drug testing, pace of play and marketing. But he wouldnt hire himself for the top post on the PGA TOUR.
Ive got one major weakness. I have zero operating experience running a company, Ogilvie said. You certainly wouldnt hire a guy to run a $2 billion company thats never run a company before or never actually had a job besides golf.
If I was on that board that was hiring someone I would never even look at me.
That doesnt mean he wouldnt work for it by taking a lesser role and learning for a few years, suggesting he could learn by running the Nationwide Tour.
Hell also see first hand how players react to drug testing. He says he has no doubt that some golfers have smoked marijuana, but doesnt think theres widespread use of performance enhancing drugs.
Well find out July 1. I think itll be a non-event, Ogilvie said. Itll be a little bit of a hassle after you make your double-bogey, the guy coming in saying youve got to go pee in a cup. Thatll ruffle a few feathers, but in this day and age, you probably need it.
And maybe the tour needs a strong voice of a player in the management ranks.
In the meantime, Ogilvie, who has eaten with Buffett about 10 times, is keeping busy with investments and thinking about how he would pick Gates brain if the two met.
He said hes much more interested in the philanthropic work of the billionaires like Gates as opposed to how they amassed their fortunes.
I can understand philanthropic work more than I can understand the Vista operating system, said Ogilvie, who admitted he owned a Mac. Obviously hes one of the smartest tech guys that ever lived, so it would be fun just to think about, Where we would go from here?'that type of thing.
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