Ogilvy Matchless at Match Play


Geoff Ogilvy is the new Zen master of golf. Or as Chevy Chase put it in 'Caddyshack:' nun-nun-nun-nun-nun-nun-nuh.
Tiger Woods has a poker face but he will turn fiery quicker than you can say fist-pump. Sergio Garcia wears his heart on his brightly-colored sleeve. Phil Mickelson is an analytical mind trapped in an emotional body.
Geoff Ogilvy
Geoff Ogilvy has one of the most admired swings on the PGA Tour. (Getty Images)
But only Ogilvy, among the worlds best players today, can float down a fairway, like hes walking on lemon meringue, just moments after pumping a high-launch desert rocket 340 yards down the middle of the fairway. He rarely varies his swing plane or tempo. And he never hurries his pre-shot routine, his backswing or the metronomic gait he employs to reach his golf ball between shots.
Ogilvy, the unawed Aussie, showed up at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club early in the week ranked eighth in the world and unobtrusively won his first two matches in extra holes without showing a pulse.
Then he kicked it into a higher gear ' especially on Saturday when he cut off teen sensation Rory McIlroys oxygen supply in the morning and returned in the afternoon semifinals to drain the blood from the face of Stewart Cink.
This week was all about the fact that Tiger was back after eight months spent on the sidelines rehabbing a surgically-repaired knee. And that was fine with the self-effacing Ogilvy, who would be the last person to remind you that:
  • He breezed to victory in the season-opening Mercedes Championship in January by four shots.
  • He will show up at the WGC-CA Doral in two weeks as the defending champion.
  • He already had a match play major under his belt thanks to his 2006 win at the WGC-Accenture. Oh, and by the way: Ogilvy captured the U.S. Open at Winged Foot later that year.
  • Oh, and by the way Part II: Ogilvy, who analyst Paul Azinger repeatedly called the best ball-striker in the field, converted 70 of 74 putts going into his quietly relentless 4-and-3 final-round victory Sunday over Englishman Paul Casey.
    Which begs the question: If youre the best ball-striker in a field that includes every single one of the top-ranked 64 players in the world, doesnt that make you the best ball-striker in the world?
    You wont get Ogilvy to publicly ponder that question. But you will get him to discourse thoughtfully on golf course architecture or hard rock guitar playing. He aspires to excel at 'picking' almost as much as he does at golf. But knows its impossible to perfect either. And if you really push him to tell you something about himself that nobody else knows, he will tell you that he has to take a shower every night before he goes to sleep.
    If I dont, he says, I just feel dirty. This from a guy who clips his long irons so cleanly off the fairway he rarely takes a divot. A superintendents dream, Johnny Miller called him.
    I threw a lot at him, said Casey, who played long stretches of very good golf in the 36-hole final. And he didnt flinch.
    Anyway, nobodys anywhere close to saying, Tiger Who? anytime soon, even though Woods exited in the second round. But just one week ago the supporters of world No. 2 Sergio Garcia and No. 3 Phil Mickelson were looking up at Woods perch in the rankings and figuring out ways to pass him soon in the complicated points system. Now they had better pay attention to the irresistible force behind them that Ogilvy has inexorably become in recent months.
    He has won three of his last eight events worldwide and finished no worse than 32nd in any of those tournaments. If Woods plays at Doral, the player he will paint a virtual bulls eye on the back of will be the laid back Ogilvy.
    And that will be a flattering thing for golfs new Zen master.
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    Related Links:
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  • Full Coverage ' WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship