DETROIT – Geoff Ogilvy wrinkled his face and tilted his head slightly. He just seemed a little hesitant to rate his two out of 74 on Thursday in the first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Then he let him out.
The former US Open champion has always been inclined to speak his mind. Kind of refreshing these days.
Four years after his last full season, Ogilvy is making his second PGA Tour start after reappearing two weeks ago at the Barracuda Championship, which turned out to be his last event in America since 2018. The 45-year-old Australian has had been considering making a comeback for some time, but travel restrictions in his home country due to the pandemic forced a delay.
He’s kept busy since returning to Melbourne in 2018, working with course design company OCM and playing a bit, including the mixed men’s and women’s event, the ISPS Handa Vic Open, earlier this year. His charitable foundation has also created a new event, the Sandbelt Invitational, held across four courses in Melbourne.
Ogilvy’s lack of competitive golf has paid off in one respect: he was recently accepted as a member of Royal Melbourne. He lives next door to the prestigious club, which last hosted the Presidents Cup in 2019 and yet, you ask, was he not a member until recently?
“Yeah, they never really had touring pros as members,” he explained.
But make no mistake, Ogilvy still considers himself a circuit pro. So he figured he’d start trying to be one again.
“Life got really complicated when I moved back to Australia,” he said behind the 18th green at the Detroit Golf Club on Thursday. “I’ve done a lot of good things, a lot of fun things. There’s no shortage of things happening that I love. It was great. But at some point, you realize that’s what I’m doing. You know, we all have something to do. That’s what I do.”
The hard part is relearning how to do it with as much skill as he did when he won a major tournament – the 2006 US Open at Winged Foot – plus three golf world championships, making teams from the Presidents Cup and hovering at the top of the world rankings. . It reached No. 4 in 2009.
There weren’t many highlights in his first run on the Donald Ross course, with four bogeys compensating for a pair of birdies. But it’s not the motor skills that hold him back.
“Like, there’s golf and there’s tournament golf, right? And I’ve played a little bit of golf, but not a lot of tournament golf,” he said. “I think for someone at my stage, with a lot of golf under their belt, it’s more about focus and getting into it than golf. And that’s a muscle you have to flex.
“I mean look at Tony [Finau, who opened with a 64 to share the Day 1 lead]. How often do you see last week’s winner playing well the following week right away? It’s because they’re kind of in that latter group, winning a tournament is on his mind. And he’s still in there, you know, and that’s a muscle that I haven’t tensed.
Vice-captain to Trevor Immelman in the upcoming Presidents Cup in September at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, Ogilvy said part of his reason for returning to the United States was to get to know some of the players. By chance, or more likely by arrangement, he was paired in the first two rounds with Si Woo Kim of South Korea and Mackenzie Hughes of Canada, who are potential contenders for the international team.
“Obviously today’s band, uh, maybe was manipulated a bit to be like that,” he said with a smile.
Ogilvy might have called his tour rubbish, but he wasn’t entirely disappointed. “The pieces are all there,” he said. “Like I said, it’s just…I need to flex the right muscle a bit.” This one here. I was probably better at the end than at the start. So that’s all you can ask for.
Its future competitive options are murky. Ogilvy had no intention of trying to make the PGA Tour season finale next week, the Wyndham Championship, not wanting to take the place of a player potentially trying to make his way into the playoffs. of the FedEx Cup. He returns to Australia, but will return for the Presidents Cup and then perhaps test the waters at a few fall events.
“The stars kind of aligned, and I had to wet my whistle, so to speak, and that’s going to make me want to do it more,” he said. “At the moment I have no idea what next week is going to bring from a golf perspective. We’ll just kind of see where I can sneak in where I can sneak in, what I can get into outside of it. of my class [past champions]. Maybe I can get invites and go from there. So we’ll play this week and see what happens.