Ogle’s stolen gold putter makes amazing return
Brett Ogle admitted he thought he’d never see his gold-plated commemorative PING putter ever again when it was stolen from his garage about 12 years ago.
He was gifted the putter after winning the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on the multi-million dollar US Tout in 1993.
Brett Ogle’s stolen gold putter (Credit: Matt Laroche)
After moving house the putter had been stored in his garage as he hadn’t had time to put up a trophy cabinet of his golf wins.
When his Randwick home was robbed Ogle thought the putter was gone for good.
“I thought people that break into people’s places obviously want cheap money for drugs or alcohol,” Ogle said.
“So I thought they’d melt it down and get a couple of hundred bucks for it,” he said.
It took an ex-policeman and ex-golfer to come up trumps for the two-time US Tour winner.
Matt Laroche, a former professional golfer and retired police officer who lives in the New South Wales Hunter Valley made the extraordinary discovery while looking to add to his own hobby – collecting old putters.
“I got started with a couple I found at a recycle centre, and it [collecting putters] just built from there,” said Laroche, who won a professional event in New Caledonia in 2000.
“It’s nice having them around; it reminds you of days gone by.”
So while he was sifting through items at a Salamander Bay (Port Stephens) recycling centre, Laroche suddenly came across a glistening, golden putter.
“I know what a polished putter looks like, but this had a totally different feel and look,” he said.
“I saw it and turned it over, and engraved into the face was ‘Brett Ogle – [Pebble Beach] Pro-Am Winner 1993′.
“I thought, ‘I know the story behind these putters, and I reckon that this is actually gold-plated’.”
“[They] are very rare, so there’s only ever going to be two — one in the vault, and one with this player.”
The golden putter had a $220 price tag on it at the recycling centre so Laroche put his policing skills to work and tracked down Ogle, who arranged for the putter to be returned, where he said it would be kept under a watchful eye.
“It’s going straight into the [trophy] cabinet,” grinned the stringbean golf professional.