TOUR Insider: Match play gets personal for Ogilvy

Stan Badz/PGA TOUR
Geoff Ogilvy made it to the quarterfinals in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in 2011.
February 15, 2012
Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent

Geoff Ogilvy is a two time winner of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. He has an impressive 20-4 record in this tournament and talked with SiriusXM's Fred Albers about the match play format and his success.

Albers: You have been so successful in match play. Is there a secret to the success?


Ogilvy: I think good golf is good golf, whether you are playing stroke play or match play. To play well you have to make a lot of eight-foot putts and hit fairways. So that's not a secret. I try to do that every week.

Albers: Do you prepare differently for a match play tournament?

Ogilvy: I do concentrate on my putting and my driving, but I do that before any tournament. Golf always comes back to driving and putting. I think I've lost in every round, and have won twice. Maybe at the end, you could hit a different shot depending on where you are in the match but I do that in other tournaments as well and I always practice my putting and driving every week. So do I prepare differently? Probably not.

Albers: Some think it's an advantage to be a shorter hitter in match play. That way you can put pressure on the opponent, always hitting the green first.

Ogilivy: I don't know if I agree with that. It's only an advantage to hit first if you hit the green. It can work the opposite way too. If you hit first and miss the green, now I have an advantage. I'm closer to the green and I have the advantage of knowing what my opponent did.

So I guess I would say it's an advantage to hit first but only if you're playing well because if you miss that green now I have the advantage. I think if some shorter hitters do well in this format it's because a lot of shorter hitters on TOUR drive it straight. You don't find many short and crooked hitters on TOUR. So if you play first and hit the fairway and hit the green that's a good thing but it can go the opposite way if the shorter hitter is not playing well.

Albers: I have walked with you when you won this tournament, I also saw you lose in the final one year and it seemed to really upset you, more so than in a stroke play event. Is match play a more personal format, and does it hurt more to lose because I have seen you finish top five in a stroke play event and you seem happy with your week.

Ogilivy: There's no doubt match play is much more personal. If I finish 20th in a stroke play tournament, well, there's 140-something guys that could have beaten me at the start of the week. But match play is just you and me and if you beat me that sucks because that means for that day you were better than me and that's a terrible feeling. Losing at match play really sucks.

Buff: It's obvious what Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood have been doing this winter, they have both been exercising and lifting weights. McIlroy is much bigger through the chest, while Westwood appears to have dropped a couple waist sizes and now has bulging forearms. Physical fitness does not guarantee success in golf but it has to help in match play format where you can go extra holes in every round.

Beware of the ill: Tiger Woods says his whole family has caught "some sort of bug." He arrived at Dove Mountain a bit congested and has a nasal tone in his interviews. Woods also says the cold won't affect his play this week.

Tortoise and the hare: The opening round match between Ben Crane and Bubba Watson should be fun to watch. Crane is a very deliberate player, while Bubba plays quickly. It's easy for a fast player to get frustrated in this format and it will be interesting to see how Watson copes with the pace of play.

A bad moon rising: Sang-moon Bae was impressive in his Wednesday practice round. At the 209 yard 12th hole, he hit a five iron with three different shapes and trajectories. A high fade found the front of the green, a baby draw landed in the middle of the putting surface while a high draw landed on the back portion. He hit the same club, three different distances with three different shapes. Bae plays Ian Poulter in the opening round.

And the winner is: Rory McIlroy. He got boat-raced in this tournament last year, when Ben Crane eliminated him on the 11th hole. That won't happen again. McIlroy is a long-ball, high-ball hitter, which is perfect for these undulating greens and comes into the tournament in good form having finished in the top 10 in nine of his last 10 starts.

Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio and is inside the ropes this week at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, [click here].