Ogilvy’s ready to jump the fence for Cup

Ah, local knowledge. You just can’t beat it.

That’s why Geoff Ogilvy had to be part of Greg Norman’s Presidents Cup plans for 2011.

Geoff Ogilvy Geoff Ogilvy (Credit: Anthony Powter)

He has a house that backs onto Royal Melbourne and frankly, if he wasn’t in the team he’d probably be fielding calls from US captain Freddy Couples asking for a few tips on how to play the famous sandbelt course.

Of course Ogilvy’s other credentials are also impeccable.

He’s also the only Australian regularly competing anywhere in the world today to have won a Major Championship.

And while Ireland, Northern Ireland and South Africa have dominated Major Championship in the past couple of years, it’s already been five years since Ogilvy emerged from the Winged Foot carnage to capture the 2006 US Open.

But he’s done so much more: along with a Major Championship Ogilvy’s captured three WGC events, the 2006 WGC – Accenture Match-Play Championship, 2008 WGC – CA Championship and 2009 WGC – Accenture Match-Play Championship.

He’s also tasted success in two Tournament of Champion events in Hawaii, in 2009 and 2010.

Amazingly, since then the easy-going Ogilvy’s best finish in about 40 US PGA Tour events was a second place finish in last year’s Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston, the second of four FedEx Playoff series events.

“From my perspective it’s been frustrating because I was really happy with where my game was at say in January,” Ogilvy remarked on the eve of the BMW Championship in Chicago.

“I messed my finger up, hurt my shoulder later on in the year and then I picked up a kind of a strange digestive sickness there for a while.

“So it didn’t really go very well for me this year.”

Ogilvy’s best result this year was a superb share of fourth with Scott at the US Masters, as well a similar place finish in the Canadian Open.

But of the 19 PGA Tour events Ogilvy contested prior to heading to the Windy City in mid-September, he had missed the cut in six events and withdrawn from the Players Championship after shooting a first-day 75.

It’s not exactly the sort of form International Presidents Cup captain, Greg Norman was looking for as he seeks to win the trophy for only a second time since Norman was a member of Peter Thomson’s side that won in 1998 at Royal Melbourne.

“With the way I have been playing it obviously made things a bit difficult, from Greg’s perspective,” Ogilvy admitted.

“His communication has been really good with me and I think most of the other guys, and he’s been right on top of it.

“You get the feeling he’s been watching pretty closely all year because he does seem to be very in touch with what we’re doing over here.”

Ogilvy teed-up in Chicago in 10th position on the automatic qualifying points table and what Norman didn’t want was another Australian dropping outside the top-10 qualifiers, before he made his two captain’s picks.

Norman has already lost Aaron Baddeley and Robert Allenby, who had slipped to 14th and 15th respectively while Stuart Appleby, who’s been a stalwart in the Presidents Cup for past years, was well out of any selection contention languishing in 34th place.

Only Day and Scott were really assured of selection.

But there was never any doubting Ogivly’s passion to be there.

“I grew up about 400 or 500 yards from Royal Melbourne so that’s pretty close,” he said

“I used to go and watch all the golf tournaments there. 

“I used to go jump the fence and not pay for a ticket and watch the golf.

“I watched Tom Watson win the Australian Open at Royal Melbourne in 1984 and I saw Greg Norman won a few Australian Opens there.

“They had a big tournament called the Bicentennial Classic at Royal Melbourne in 1998, and it was probably the biggest golf tournament in the world in 1988.

“There was a $500,000 first place in 1988, which was unheard of at that point.  Nicklaus played, Freddie played, everyone, like Crenshaw was there. It was huge.

“So Royal Melbourne is pretty special just because of the history it enjoys.

“And the fact that the Presidents Cup is again being held in Australia it’s definitely not one that I would want to miss.

“It’s going to be a pretty amazing week.

“Even if I didn’t qualify or get picked, I’ll probably still be around there regardless, and whether or not I was in the tournament.

“I’ve got a house that actually backs onto the golf course at Royal Melbourne now, so I want to play, yeah.”