What they said: Geoff OgilvyJanuary 25, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
MORE INTERVIEWS: Farmers Insurance Open transcript archive
DOUG MILNE: Geoff Ogilvy, thanks for joining us for a few minutes here prior to the 2012 Farmers Insurance Open. You're making your TOUR season debut here. So with that said, why don't we just get a few opening comments on how you're feeling as you're ready to begin the year?
GEOFF OGILVY: I feel quite good. It's been five weeks I had off which was pretty nice. It went very fast as usually a big break at the end of the year does. But we've been back here. We live here in Del Mar now actually. So we've been here since just before Christmas and it's been pretty nice. Christmas here and a bit of surfing, and a bit of golf and family time, it's been pretty good.
So, yeah, pretty excited to start, really. Body feels better than it did this time last year. Game feels pretty good, so, yeah, I'm excited to get going, I guess.
Q. Geoff, on that theme, you've had a little time off to think about the Australia run you had and the Presidents Cup and all that and your game. Just your reflections on that time down there and kind of what it meant for you and golf in Australia in general??
GEOFF OGILVY: It was fun. It was, obviously, I watched the '98 Presidents Cup just as I turned pro, and I was blown away by how good an event it was. I never imagined I would have a chance to play one in Australia at Royal Melbourne. But when they announced it, it was pretty exciting.
Having Greg as a captain was pretty cool. We had him in San Francisco, which was pretty special. To get him in Australia on maybe his favorite golf course, pretty close to my favorite golf course, in my home city, right next to my house was pretty special.
I mean, a lot of you guys in here were there. It was a pretty amazing event atmospherewise. The course was pretty spectacular. We had three or four different types of days, lots of fun golf. We can't seem to manage to win that tournament. I'm not quite sure how because we all feel like we dot right things.
But I like how I played. I wish we could have gotten to play one of them every year because it's a pretty special event.
Then the extras, the Australian Open was probably perhaps the best Australian Open I've been a part of. There are some probably historians will tell you, maybe some of the ones in the '60s and '70s may have been better because Jack and Gary used to go there every year. But it was a pretty special tournament.
Everyone who was supposed to play well by the end of the tournament was up on top of the leaderboard. So the Australian Open is pretty good around a cool golf course, The Lakes.
The PGA wasn't my highlight standard wise, but I enjoyed it. But the last Australian Masters I played really good on my home course of Victoria Golf Club, and I had a couple of good days and nearly won. So it was really a nice stretch of golf at the end of the year. After having a rough year, it was good to get home and play some good golf, and play some good golf courses. It was fun, it was good.
Q. We remember your win at World Golf Championship at La Costa. Was that the genesis of you wanting to move here? What actually influenced you to move to this area?
GEOFF OGILVY: It kind of started when we had kids and 115 for three months was difficult to take them outside in Scottsdale. That probably started it. So you start?? it's pretty common. I mean, the Zonies come over, a lot of people from Arizona come to the coast in the summer. Anyone who can, I guess, get away if they don't have to be there for work finds a way to get out of the Valley, usually. It's just not that cool, really.
So we started coming over for Summers. Spent the whole summer over here when the Open was here and had a great time. And basically just kind of started looking for houses because we enjoyed it. It was originally just going to be a summer kind of set?up, but we'd be driving back over the mountains and you drive over those mountains and you go down and it's going up a degree every second almost. And you get down to the bottom of the hill and it's 105, it's like why are we going back? So we eventually just decided on one of the trips back for winter, that this would be our last winter, let's just get over here soon.
Q. Are you getting into the lifestyle here? Are you doing a little surfing, little fishing, anything like that?
GEOFF OGILVY: I do quite a bit of surfing. This is very much like Australia around here. A lot of Australians I know say they're comfortable around here. The trees are all Australian trees. You stole them (laughing). But it's an Australian?type lifestyle, the surfing and the beach. It's a very beachy culture, which is kind of what we're used to. The climate is obviously pretty amazing.
So it was a bit of a no?brainer. The schools over here are apparently great. And the kids were really the genesis of all of this, really because they obviously become the center of your world, really. You make all your choices around them, if you can, I think. So that really started it. Once you get here for a summer, it's hard to leave, really.
Q. You didn't say anything about the racetrack??
GEOFF OGILVY: The races are fun, too. Yeah, that's a very Australian thing too, horse racing.
Q. We steal that from you too??
GEOFF OGILVY: Maybe the biggest sport in Australia. Gambling is a national sport in Australia, and horse racing is quite bit. So it's kind of nice. I haven't seen a racetrack like that anywhere in the world. It's a pretty spectacular place. It's kind of like a little dream town, Del Mar, and it's got a railroad track through it and a racetrack and a beach. It's got a very nice feel about it.
Q. Before you got hurt last year and you turned up at Kapalua, you were talking about your game being as sharp as it had been ever to start a season and then that. Where are you right now do you think??
GEOFF OGILVY: I'm close to that.
Q. In terms of the start of the season??
GEOFF OGILVY: I'm pretty?? I feel pretty good about it. I maybe felt slightly better about it at the start when I lobbed at Kapalua last year. I had a massive break really from Atlanta. I only played a couple tournaments in Australia. I didn't go to Asia. We didn't have a Presidents Cup. I played really well in Australia and had a few more weeks off. I got to one of my favorite places, and I just felt very good about it. Hit balls on the range Tuesday, and it was very good.
I feel pretty good about it now. I've played quite a lot of rounds. Just some social games and stuff. I've been at practice the last couple of weeks and it feels pretty good. I've got that start of the year excitement, you know what I mean, to play.
So I'm close to that, closer. I'm way in front of where I was Wednesday at Kapalua last year, so that's an advantage.
Q. Is a World Tour as it exists in tennis, in your opinion, an idea whose time will eventually come, or are we as close to it right now as we'll ever exist??
GEOFF OGILVY: I don't know, actually. Hypothetically, I think the idea is fantastic. But it's hard to get two states to agree on anything let alone get two countries to agree. If you're going to get multiple countries and multiple TV set?ups, the stars have to lineup for that to happen.
Maybe it will always be a hypothetical idea. I mean, it is?? that last four months of the year seems to be getting that way, doesn't it? I mean, you've got the top 50 in the world, if you like, the majority of those playing two or three in Asia, perhaps ducking off and playing the Million Dollar in Sun City and stuff. I mean, they're the sort of big tournaments and big match play tournaments to play in. It seems to be getting a few guys there.
There's maybe more traveling. Well, I don't know if there's more traveling going on. I don't know. There are bigger tournaments outside the U.S. going on than maybe there have been in a while. Hypothetically, it's a fantastic idea. I don't know if it could actually ever happen. I don't know.
Again, you don't want to undermine each regular Tour either. It has to sit with all the professional golfers in the world, and as I said, it's a hard one to get done, I think.
Q. Relating to your move to Del Mar, how much more comfortable have you gotten with this course? Do you plan to make this an annual stop now? I know you haven't played here all that much.
GEOFF OGILVY: I imagine it will become an annual stop. It was on my schedule last year, but I had a bit of a finger issue. You would think I would play here quite a lot, but my first round here since the '08 U.S. Open was Tuesday. So there's lots of nice golf courses around here that don't have 50 people standing on the first tee when you lineup, which is testament of how cool the place is.
This is a pretty unique?? it's a bit like Bethpage in New York. It's the pride and joy of the town kind of thing or the city, really. So I don't need to come and play here too much. I mean, I've got lots of places to play much this is the place for the public to play. I'd love to play here a bit more, but I just don't get around to doing it.
Q. Some had of your other favorites in the area??
GEOFF OGILVY: I played La Jolla Country Club the other day. I thought that was a really cool place. San Diego Country Club might be my favorite but that's a big drive to get down there. Again, they're all private. I've got to go arrange games and stuff. Rancho Santa Fe Country Club is a beautiful place. I played at the Bridges, which is pretty cool and the Grand up here.
There are no top 50 in the world courses here, but they're all nice clubs and they've all got nice atmospheres. You can get nice, reasonably paced rounds and there are quite a few walking courses here, which I think is cool.
Just, yeah, there's no soccer sport in San Diego, but it's a really nice golf town, it feels like for more of the courses I play.
Q. Do you play the Grand more than anything, do you think??
GEOFF OGILVY: Probably. I probably play the Grand more than any. It's quite quiet. It's a great course to play because it tests you off the tee. It's a good driving course. And it's the closest course that I probably that I have access to a day?to?day basis to where I live. So I go there mostly.
I go to Bridges more in summer, which is the bentgrass season, I guess, if you like.
Q. Your thoughts on the Q?school and Nationwide proposal from last night?
GEOFF OGILVY: I don't know. I quite like the way it is now. But I quite liked the way the TOUR was before the FedExCup was, and I actually like the TOUR better now with the FedExCup. I thought it was ridiculous having the FedExCup, but now it happened and I'm like this is pretty good. Every year it's gotten better, and I really like it.
So the TOUR hasn't made that many missteps in the last 20 or 30 years. They've put in a lot of work and time and thought into this. It's probably going to end up the right thing to do. It's not really going to affect most guys who?? the bunch of guys who stay on TOUR every year and play. It's not going to affect them too much.
It's going to be interesting to see how people get on to how they choose to get on the TOUR and is everyone going to have to do that stepping stone through the Nationwide Tour? Or is there realistically a way to get to those playoff events without doing all of that? And how the Europeans choose to?? if less of them choose to come and play here because it might be more difficult for them too, I don't know.
But as I said, the TOUR has a history of making pretty sensible decisions about the big structure changes. So I'll probably just go with them and trust them on it.
Q. Because of what happened last year at Kapalua and not having the PGA TOUR season you would have wanted. Are you perhaps more motivated coming into this season than ever before??
GEOFF OGILVY: I don't know. I'm not more motivated. I don't think motivation has ever been my struggle. I think?? excited is not the right word. I'm anticipating. I'm hoping to have a good year.
I'm feeling good about golf and looking forward to it. I'm actually looking forward to having like a longish year of golf to be honest with you. Normally I look to play?? I look towards the middle of the year, and I'm like seriously, we've got five months to go, which is not the right attitude, really.
But I'm actually quite excited because I was so broken up last year and I had a few months off, and it didn't really?? like I wasn't in contention enough, and that's kind of why I play to win tournaments and get up there on Sundays. I'm looking forward to a year full of those type of opportunities, I guess.
That's a long answer for that, but that's the real answer, that last paragraph.
Q. We've heard from some that if they go to the start of the new season in the fall, golf no longer has an off?season. What are your thoughts on that as a guy from Australia?
GEOFF OGILVY: We don't really have an off?season anyway. They restart the money list, if you like. And if you live your career, I guess, on your final money list positions then perhaps to this point it hasn't had an off?season and you haven't given any credit to a championship through Kapalua stuff. You just call it silly season or whatever it is.
But I don't think it's ever?? while I've been playing, it hasn't had an off?season. Maybe it's different for an Australian who has not an obligation?? well, an obligation, really. We really should go down and play in Australia and back on the first time I played it ended at Disney and the TOUR Championship as they do now, and we go straight back and play three in Australia and have a couple weeks off and get to the Sony. So I've never really played it with an off?season.
There's been more of a sense with Atlanta being earlier and the FedExCup finishing earlier, more of a sense of, okay, it doesn't really matter for the next couple of months, and then it goes with a little bit of a sense. Then that might go away.
Definitely, if it does go ahead, more guys will play in the Fall. Whether they say now, no, I'm I don't want to play anymore. Well, they will. There's just no way they won't. The east coast guys will play the east coast tournaments and the west coast guys will play the west, and the golf jockeys will play them all. More guys will play there.
More guys will make the trip to Malaysia for sure if that tournament continues. Anyone who I imagine gets into that Shanghai tournament who chooses or has chosen not to go at this point will probably go. Because it's what, $7.5 million dollars, and it will be big FedExCup points. If it's a money list tournament, they'll go.
So, there will be a feeling of?? there will be guys going around, especially the top 50 players will be like when do I get a chance to take time off? But I guess the reality is, as I've said, I've never felt much of an off?season anyway. You've just kind of had to choose a couple of chunks in the year and just miss some tournaments.
It's just kind of been the same, I guess, for me anyway. I guess the guys?? the Strickers and stuff might feel a bit disappointed because they like tuning out for a couple of months, don't they. Maybe he'll feel like he has to play a little bit.
Q. To follow up on what you just said. When you're putting together your schedule, what are your main considerations??
GEOFF OGILVY: Schedulewise?
Q. When you're deciding which tournaments to play and where in the world to go.
GEOFF OGILVY: I guess, if you know you're in all the majors at the start of the year and the World Golf Championships, you put them?? you put THE PLAYERS Championship in. I guess you put in anything that you're defending, probably, unless there is some really extenuating circumstance that says you can't go, and I guess I just try to fit everything around that. That's seven or eight, nine tournaments or something.
Then play the ones that fit that the week after or the week before. Make sure you play the ones that you really like to go to, I guess. But when you do get to start the year having seven or eight tournaments you're definitely going to play, it's quite easy to shape everything around that.
I think the difficult thing are guys in that middle zone who are guys who are 60th in the world and are not guaranteed in any of them yet but could be, and want to get in that U.S. Open, but don't want to overplay themselves and they get in and be tired.
I was there for three or four years. It's very awkward to set your schedule and it's kind of a week?to?week kind of thing. Like decide maybe a month in advance.
Now I'm pretty set, really, on where I'm going to play between now and December, probably. Couple of changeables, but it all pretty much bases around majors and World Golf Championships and what I like to fit into that schedule, really.
Q. Where do you fall on Portrush or Castle Stewart??
GEOFF OGILVY: I haven't played Castle Stewart, so I can't. But Portrush would be my choice over the two just because it's older and more historic and I haven't played it. I haven't played Castle Stewart, but it's not 200 years old or whatever Portrush is, or a hundred years old, 50 years old, a hundred.
But it would be a pretty spectacular run. That's going to be the week before Castle Stewart or a week after the Open. Well, that will make it awkward. That will basically mean you have to be in Europe for four or five weeks, which is not a bad thing, but it will be a big plan. You'll have to plan it out.
That schedule for me is always quite fluid between open and open. We've got four weeks in there this year instead of three. Often I've taken them all off, because three doesn't feel like too many to take off, but four does. So I don't know.
Last year I wasn't going to play them, but I was injured so I ended up playing Hartford and Philadelphia. So I really don't know. If I was going to bang one in this year in that stretch, one of those two would be hard?? that's definitely the strength of the European schedule there from a golf course, like old school, European Tour, old links golf courses. It's good preparation for the Open.
So they're definitely strongly penciled in, probably. But as I said, that's the one part of my year that is slightly changeable schedule.
Q. We're streaming live on PGATOUR.COM. First is the 13th. It's the par?5 there?
GEOFF OGILVY: On the South, yeah.
Q. Yeah, on the South course. Depending on where those tees are, it's going to go from like 540 all wait back to like 614. I wonder if you could give us your approach from the tee to the green depending on where those tees are. And then I have a follow up on the 16th, par?3 as well.
GEOFF OGILVY: Well, the back tee, the back, back U.S. Open 2008 tee is probably the least interesting the hole gets because everybody lays it up. I'll hit a driver and some sort of lay?up, and a wedge from the bottom of the hill. You either choose whether you want to play it from up high with a 9?iron or whatever from the bottom at 70 yards.
I guess that's maybe pin to pin. Smash your driver as hard as you can, I guess, and find a way to hit it to where you want your wedge.
The front tee gets?? I mean, most par?5s, the shorter they get, the more interesting they get because especially if you hit short, you don't actually have to smash it. You make sure you hit the fairway and you've got a 5?wood, 3?iron or 2?iron or hybrid whatever these guys are using to hit the green. But it always plays longer than you want it to play. It's very easy to underclub that second shot. It plays longer than the yardage for some reason, for me, anyway.
Those front bunkers, if you're not right up in the front ones, if you're short in the short ones, it's a horrible place to be. You almost start working ahead to how do I make par? The birdie goes out of the equation if you don't do the second to the right. It's a very interesting hole for people on the front tee and everybody's going for the green, or guys hit the fairway going for the green.
At the shortest, it's probably a drive of three out of four for me, and at the longest, it's a drive or 3?iron, wedge. So it can vary a lot.
Q. The same thing for number 16, the par?3??3?
GEOFF OGILVY: Are they going to use both tees maybe?
Q. That I don't know.
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, I've only ever played this tournament from that right tee, and the U.S. Open, I think we played the left tee every day, Sunday, Saturday? Yeah, I can't remember if I liked it more or less from the left.
I like 16 though. I think it's a cool green. I think it's a cool hole. It's one of the best holes on the south, actually. It can play really long when you get there later in the day and you get that damp kind of wind off the ocean and 20 yards, it's playing two clubs longer than it normally does.
From the left tee, it changes the angle a lot, which might not mean as much when the greens are soft like they are here. At the U.S. Open it makes a big difference when the first bounce is eight feet in the air. That makes it really difficult from the left because you have to go over every bunker.
But a tough hole 16. So anywhere in the middle of the green, you putt up to the pin. So the middle of the green with a long iron, you maybe make it and hopefully make three.