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October 19, 2011

Geoff Ogilvy

CHRIS REIMER: We want to thank all the media for joining us today or tonight, depending on where you are, and obviously thank seven-time PGA TOUR winner Geoff Ogilvy for taking the time to talk a little Presidents Cup with us. I'm sure you're excited about Royal Melbourne literally being your backyard. If you could some opening comments as we're only a few weeks away from the beginning of the Presidents Cup 2011.
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, obviously pretty exciting. My first exposure to the Presidents Cup was 1998, was the last time it was at Royal Melbourne. I got to stay the weekend there, and I was blown away by the emotion and kind of the scale of the atmosphere that the event created, and I didn't really sit down and think, well, I've definitely got to be here next time because I didn't imagine it was going to be at Royal Melbourne again. But when it did get announced that it was going to be at Royal Melbourne a few years ago, it was definitely a goal, let's make sure we don't miss that one. It's going to be pretty fun.
It's getting close now and really looking forward to it. It's going to be a good week, I think.

Q. When you talk about this year, in retrospect, those last two holes in Boston, you were outside the top 10 of the international rankings at that stage. Those last two holes, were they two of the most important holes you've played without a championship on the line?
GEOFF OGILVY: They probably were. I guess that's where these FedExCup Playoffs at the end have kind of -- they've created interest inside the tournament, outside of who is winning the tournament. And for the first time playing those holes I was actually one of those guys that there was some interest there. And I guess if -- I missed the cut in the first one and that was back in the '90s, so I needed to have a decent week in Boston just to get to Chicago.
Yeah, as you said, the last two holes, it all came down to I had to take an unplayable from the rough and getting it up and down from 150 yards or 140 yards or something to make par on 17, and then I birdied the 18th, which I had to do to get to Chicago. So I guess at the time I wasn't 100 percent sure what I needed to do to get to Chicago, and I guess I didn't really see the magnitude of the situation, but when I actually looked back after I finished the week and especially after I looked back after Chicago, those two holes turned out to be pretty important.

Q. You've got the home at Royal Melbourne. Whereabouts would that be in specific? Have you got a view of any of the Presidents Cup holes there?
GEOFF OGILVY: No, I don't have a view of any of the course holes actually. It's not a hole that's not -- it's on one of the 18 holes that's not one of the composite holes. Without being specific, it's not one of the composite holes. I can walk to the clubhouse, probably wouldn't take me that long, so it's pretty nice. I mean, it's -- I grew up in that Beaumaris area right around Royal Melbourne. So it's easy -- it's a very nice place to grow up if you're a golfer.

Q. Last time around in the Presidents Cup, you've talked before about the team bonding and it all coming together, you're all wearing different flags but you're all under the one team banner. Must be an incredible experience.
GEOFF OGILVY: It's a fantastic week. It took me by surprise my first one in 2007, about how into-the-team thing everybody gets, because as you say, we're all kind of bringing a different flag, or for our team at least, a lot of us are bringing a different flag, and it's hard to imagine that South Africans and Fijians and Australians and Japanese and Koreans and Canadians are going to come together and be part of a team, but we really do. From the very first night when everyone gets to the hotel and we all have a few beers and talk about the week and get excited, it really is a team straightaway.
It's a fantastic experience. I definitely have a very cool relationship with everybody I've played a Presidents Cup with. For the rest of, like, your time playing golf and for the rest of time, you are going to have special relationships with all the people you play on the team with because that's how good a week it is.
So it really is a fun one for us. It's as much about winning the tournament and representing our country as it is just getting to enjoy that week. My first one I got to spend a week with Gary Player, which it doesn't get much better than that, and you're getting in and out of the bus with Gary Player every morning and he's telling you stories back from his day. That's a pretty good experience.
And last time it was Greg, and this time it's Greg again. So getting to spend time with guys like that, that's worth the price of admission there.

Q. Who's the biggest practical joker among the internationals?
GEOFF OGILVY: Well, there's no real practical joker. There's definitely some people on the bus on the way to the course and the way back who are generally more vocal than others. We have some storytellers and some singers on the microphone, depending on how many beers they've had on the bus on the way back. Those stories can stay on the bus, though. They don't come off the bus. But it's definitely -- it's a great -- it's like any other team dynamic. There's the loud ones, there's the quiet ones, there's the motivating ones, there's the ones who like to get pumped up by others. It's exactly like any other team environment. It's fantastic to see guys who their whole lives they pride themselves on their individual support and how they go about it like that, to all come together in a team way, it's pretty fun.

Q. In which category do you fall, quiet, loud?
GEOFF OGILVY: A bit of both probably, depending how much I've had on the bus on the way home. Generally I would be on the quiet end, but I think the more Presidents Cups I play, the more I'd be speaking up. It's fun. It depends on how the day is going. It's just a great week for us.
And I guess one of the fun things is playing golf in front of 30,000 or 40,000 people, and we all get on the bus, and that's our little sanctuary at the end of day, and we all trade stories about what happened and how we played and stuff. It's fun to share your -- finally as a golfer to share your experiences with someone other than your wife, I guess. You get to share it with your teammates.

Q. On the business of Presidents Cup, has Greg asked you for any of your wisdom about possible pairings given that you're out on Tour all the time and he's back watching TV?
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, he's been pretty good with the communication the whole time, really. We see him and Frank, because Frank Nobilo is the assistant, and he's out with the Golf Channel every week. So we see Frank quite a lot on Tour. Greg has been on the phone, at least me and I know to Adam and a few other guys, quite regularly on how everyone is going and how everyone is feeling. He had us all -- we had a meeting at the U.S. PGA in Atlanta in August, and he would discuss little things like that with us.
So it's been a constant line of communication. He's definitely a very hands-on captain. He's very involved with us, and I think he probably knows more about the way we're all playing and how we'll all fit into the team better than you could imagine actually. So he's pretty -- as he has been with everything his whole life, he's very competitive and he really wants to win, and he's really, really into this.

Q. You were talking about combinations. Can I ask you, when you're matching up players, is personality more important than skills, or is it important that you get a blend of both people who are compatible and that their skills match?
GEOFF OGILVY: I'm kind of on both sides. There's a lot made of pairings in Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups and how important they are. Sometimes I think it really doesn't matter. Everyone is a very good player. You put them with anybody, and they're going to play well. But saying that, sometimes you get some magic pairings where two guys seem to be greater than the sum of their parts when their personalities really match. There's been some famous Ryder Cup pairings that they -- two guys, Seve and José Maria Olazábal might come together and play better than they were before just because they're playing together. And Sergio and Parnevik were like that and last time in the Presidents Cup, Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods played together and they were astonishing how they played together. They just seemed to gel very well.
So I think you look for that, the magic pairings. I think there are definitely guys who really enjoy playing with certain other players and will play better if they play with them, so I think you try to seek those out. But beyond those sort of pairings, I think it doesn't matter too much. I think you just try to find guys who like each other. I guess with our team there's a language issue, too. I think it's going to help if guys speak the same language because we have a few non-English speakers on the team. So I think there's a few little issues, but I think once you get past -- unless people are definitely adamant they'll only play with one guy, I think you've got a few guys you can play with and you play around with it until you find where everyone is happy.

Q. On a supplementary question, you spoke about the magic of bringing together players under different flags. How magical do you think it is for American players to play under that one banner? They do it obviously in the Ryder Cup, this is another opportunity. There are five newcomers. And how important is it for that American team to come together?
GEOFF OGILVY: I think it probably starts out slightly easier for the American team because they are all from the same flag if you like, one country, and they do get to do it every year. At least half of this Presidents Cup, maybe more, probably played the Ryder Cup last year, so they have practiced at being a team, if you like, more regularly.
I think it's just as important for each team to come together as a team, regardless of which team, but I think it's probably slightly easier for the American guys, one, because they do it more often, and two, because they're starting out all as one country. I mean, we end up one country for sure, as I said, as soon as we get to the tournament. We just become that international team and we are all part of the same team for sure. But it probably takes more for us, more of a leap for us to become that way than the Americans, I think.

Q. Greg obviously came out this week and made some comments about Tiger that caused a bit of a hullabaloo and caused a bit of traction. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on the Tiger selection. And secondly, I gather these things are normally played in pretty good spirits, do you see any tension maybe between the teams or have you experienced that in the past? And do you anticipate any this time around?
GEOFF OGILVY: Firstly, the Tiger thing, you can't ever say that picking Tiger Woods is a bad selection. But the way he picked him, I don't agree with the way he picked him, announcing it months early. Basically telling the guys who are on the fringe of the U.S. Team there's really only going to be one pick. I'm not exactly sure in saying it that early. And it is disappointing. Keegan Bradley is the obvious one, he's won two tournaments this year, one of them being a major, and he hasn't made the team, which is astonishing really that you can do that in a year and not make the team. So I'm very disappointed for him. But that's beside the point.
I guess it's a very difficult situation when you announce you're going to pick one guy that early for everybody else. It's hard to say that picking Tiger Woods on your team is a bad thing because he's been the best golfer in the world for the last 15 years. Maybe not for the last 18 months but definitely for the last 15 years. But doing it the way he did it might not have been the best.
What was the other question?

Q. Obviously these things are played in normally pretty good spirits, just whether there's a potential for any tension, or whether these things actually have a bit of tension or played in pretty good spirits between the teams?
GEOFF OGILVY: Look, it's an ultra-competitive tournament, but I think if you compare it to the Ryder Cup, it's played in very friendly terms. I think the Ryder Cup -- well, at least from the outside looking in, appears to carry an astonishing amount of tension, which is what makes the event so appealing to watch because of the obvious levels of animosity, at least between the fans on each side, not the players. But it's an incredible -- that's why sport is what it is, because of the tension that's created in the Ryder Cup.
I think we haven't had -- the Ryder Cup has had multiple events historically that have created stuff, that have created that over long periods of time. The Presidents Cup, we haven't really had any kind of tension-building moments if you like, apart from the obvious just the competitors out on the golf course.
To create any of that kind of animosity-type thing, at this point it's still an ultra-competitive but friendly event. If it goes on for another 50 years, I'm sure it will develop intention because all it takes is a couple odd things to happen during the event to create a little bit of extra competitiveness, and that can add to the event. But at this moment I think it's a fantastic event because of how competitive it is but how friendly it is. I think it's a great event.

Q. On Royal Melbourne, you've spoken a bit about how you obviously have a place near there, and it's been talked about how it's going to be this massive advantage for the international team because so many Aussies know the course so well. Can you talk about how big of an advantage it will be?
GEOFF OGILVY: It's a pretty big advantage. Royal Melbourne, you wouldn't consider it one of the most difficult golf courses in the world anymore, but it's definitely a golf course that rewards local knowledge. There's a lot of places on the golf course that are bad to hit it, and there's a lot of places on the course that are good to hit it, and they're not always obvious. It's only learned through playing the course.
So I think the international team will have a slight advantage there because we've got more players on the team that have played Royal Melbourne before and have played Sand Belt courses before. But the U.S. guys, there's a few guys on the U.S. Team for sure that have played Sand Belt golf before and have played Royal Melbourne before, so they won't be completely flying blind. Fred Couples nearly won a golf tournament in 1988 at Royal Melbourne and he's their captain. So they're not going to be completely flying blind.
But I would say as far as local knowledge or hometown-advantage thing, we've probably got the slight edge.

Q. Just to clarify, so you've got no issues with the selection time, it's more the process and the way he was selected?
GEOFF OGILVY: Basically. I mean, look, I'm not the captain and I don't have to worry about who would get picked, so it's really not anything that I really wasted any time thinking about. But the thing is, I'm disappointed for Keegan Bradley. It's not really -- it's amazing that you can have the year that he's had and not make the team. I'm not going to stand up and say Tiger is a horrible pick, but I'm going to say it's very disappointing that Keegan Bradley doesn't get to play. That's where I'm at with it.
CHRIS REIMER: We want to thank you again for taking time to take part in this teleconference and thanks to all the media for joining us.

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