Luke Elvy: Ogilvy Breaks His Drought in Reno

One of my favourite sayings is ‘tough times don’t last but tough people do.’ It perfectly sums up Australia’s sixth PGA Tour winner this year – Geoff Ogilvy, who ended three years of misery to win again.

The 37-year-old stunned us all by claiming the event in Reno-Tahoe, which runs alongside the WGC at Firestone. It was his 8th PGA Tour victory, but first in four years… a stark contrast to the run four years previously, which included a major and three WGC titles.

Geoff Ogilvy Geoff Ogilvy (Credit: www.golffile.ie)

What he has endured over the past three years you wouldn’t wish on anyone, but it has been especially tough on Ogilvy. Cruising along in the world’s top 20, his slump began after an injury to his shoulder at the 2011 Masters.

Ironically, he tied fourth that week, his best finish at Augusta National, but what transpired from there was a combination of bad luck, illness and form. It saw his world-ranking plummet from 4th all the way down to 216th.

Unable to overcome his bad shoulder, Ogilvy tried rehabbing it in a pool, instead of fixing it, he caught a virus and fell ill. It virtually made 2011 a write-off, a mongrel of a year to say the least.

From there it got worse. A usually reliable putter, the Aussie lost his groove on the greens and the perennial contender started missing more cuts than he made. One of golf’s best thinkers had to start conjuring up ways to overcome it.

As is often the case trying to fix a problem only makes it worse and Ogilvy’s game downward spiralled. As he said to me at last years’ PGA Championship, professional golf is not fun when you’re on the outside looking in.

No longer was he guaranteed starts in the Majors, WGC’s or even the Invitational events for those in the world’s top 70. There are no bright lights on PGA Tour when you are basically making up the numbers.

During this stretch, there were glimpses of good form and he almost won the 2013 Honda Classic in Florida. It proved the adage ‘form is temporary… class is permanent’, it’s also the reason why he won in Reno on Sunday.

Only time will tell if this surprise win sees Ogilvy regain his confidence and return to the top echelons of world golf. What it has done though is buy him two more years to get there.

After 11 weeks as world number one, it was a shame to see Adam Scott shoved off his perch by a rampant Rory McIlroy. When the Northern Irishman snatched the Australian Open from Scott late last year, I tipped these two would duel it out for top dog in 2014.

Now that McIlroy has won The Open and WGC Bridgestone Invitational in consecutive starts, it appears very much the case. Although, the Australian will have to respond quickly and the PGA Championship is the perfect place to start.

By winning the final major of the year, Scott will not only reclaim top spot he’ll also send the message that Rory isn’t the only answer in the declining Tiger Woods era. But if McIlroy wins again, it might be the last chance Scott has off ruling golf for quite some time.

It’s just one of many interesting stories this week at Valhalla.

Luke will be commentating this week at the 96th PGA Championship for CBS