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May 16, 2018
MARK WILLIAMS: Geoff Ogilvy, welcome to the Interview Room here at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Geoff, thanks for joining us.
This will be your 7th start but obviously it's a new venue for you. Just some thoughts on the golf course, you're an aficionado, you've had some experience with design, you've spent a bit of time in the past.
Give us your thoughts on the course to start with.
GEOFF OGILVY: I think it's great. I saw the land before it had anything on it and it looked challenging, obviously, but they were pretty motivated and hired -- they're probably hired the right guys for everywhere but Bill and Ben are very good at working with tough sites and good at retaining the kind of environment, if you can call a landfill a natural environment, kind of feels like it would have done it which if it never been a landfill. It's pretty impressive.
Good holes. Different from the normal. Ball is going to bounce around a little bit, more wide on the fairways but it lives up to us how we want to play the course. We're not dictated where to hit it. We'll have to work this one out. It's going to take a few years for guys to really kind of work this course out, which I think is really interesting to watch and play.
The word that I've heard in the locker room so far is coming here, people were a bit concerned because they heard a few things. Be everybody is positive and all the players seem to love it at this point.
So, yeah, I think it's going to be a good tournament.
MARK WILLIAMS: How much of a factor do you think wind will be at this course and also heat, you know, given the conditions that are forecast?
GEOFF OGILVY: Heat is always an issue and there's no shade out here, obviously, so we're going to have to be sensibly hydrated and just do the normal hot weather stuff. This is kind of the time of year, last week or this week the first time we got real heat, as long as we drink enough and do the right things in that respect.
The wind changes the course a lot. Generally blows from the same-ish direction year at this time of year so we might get similar winds all the time but the course is built with that in mind, I think.
In a ten mile an hour wind out there on a pleasant day if you're playing well it probably is pretty getable if you play smart golf and hit good shots.
If it's blowing 20 or 30, which is pretty likely here, it's going to be -- it will be interesting. You have to ask Jordan or the members who play out here into crazy winds because I haven't seen it yet. Nothing to stop the wind. Pretty exposed place.
It's going to get tough and I think you'll see fun golf played in real wind because guys will start hitting the ball low and getting it on the ground. That's one of the intents of this course, to bring that stellar game back again. It gives you the chance to play it low if you want to, you don't have to fly it on the green. It could be quite fun if it gets windy.
MARK WILLIAMS: Your season has been difficult for you, I think it's fair. Coming to a venue like this, it's new and fresh, does that give you inspiration or motivation to kickstart the season, so to speak?
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah. The only other Crenshaw course we play is Kapalua I've played. That's a great course on a really bizarre, I guess volcano.
It does become a little bit same when you do it so many years in a row and do it so many years in a row it is pretty refreshing when you go to a new course, especially one like this, reengaging the brain a little bit and get off the range and on to the course and play golf again instead of play golf swing and hit the ball.
Hopefully I can turn things around. Golf, it's been getting better so we'll see.
MARK WILLIAMS: Let's take some questions.
Q. It's been mentioned this is the kind of place that might take some PGA TOUR guys out of their comfort zone. You mentioned if it's going to take a few years, whatever, do you think over time some of those guys might want to come out and try something like that?
GEOFF OGILVY: I think it's -- I think we need to be taken out of our comfort zone more often. We get a little bit kind of -- we get cuddled in the way we get treated, but variety is one of the best attributes golf has, I think. It's played in all sorts of different places and all sorts of different environments.
I think if the Tour, it -- it's a more rounded, well rounded Tour if he have a bit more stray in the set-up. It will make the players on a course like this, if they're uncomfortable, it will make us better players. That can only be good for the game. Make us all better players.
I think this course will stand the test of time I feel like. It will be kind of one of those courses that go strength to strength. People will enjoy it every year they play it more and more. Getting guys out of the comfort zone I think is a good thing. That's when you counted -- that's when you get better, when you get thrown out of your comfort zone.
Q. How many times would you say you played here?
GEOFF OGILVY: Probably about three I think full rounds but I've walked around it about ten times. I know the developer and a lot of people involved pretty well and we actually tried to get this job so we saw it before anything was here and I popped in two, three times during construction and walked around.
Harrison Frazier has been pretty involved and come and looked around with him. Since it's been opened I played it last year and can't remember when but --
Q. In the times you've been here, the way it's playing now in terms of firm and fast, would you rate it as lower than it's been when you've been here before?
GEOFF OGILVY: The grass is a bit slower now than I've seen it, for sure. The Tour advanced set-up staff have pretty specific kind of set-up guidelines and I think it was probably a little bumping up against their extreme edge for set-up when they first saw it so they've set it up how they like to set it up. We'll see.
You just don't know. This is so different from what we do every week. I don't know what to expect and don't want any crazy balls rolling 50 yards off greens.
I think they'll gradually, it will be a better set-up next year. Not that this set-up isn't great. It has been faster before I got here last time. See how it goes this year. Looks like it's going to be sensible weather, pretty good measure to see what happens out here and where can we push the set-up and what do we want to do with it.
Faster and harder is better for me.
Q. So I think many of us saw the video that you shot going around the course and especially I was intrigued by your comments about the double green.
How do you -- you might end up having, I don't know, 50, 60, 70-foot, hundred foot putts out here.
How do you prepare for that because that's not a typical PGA TOUR thing. You might prepare for that at a British Open but not a PGA TOUR event.
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah. Hundred foot putts are pretty common occurrence at St. Andrews. You get four, five putts out there that are outrageously long there. You kind of fly blind out there. There's only so much you can practice hundred footers. I think that's fun.
A hundred foot putt is just as awkward as a short little bunker shot in its own way because it's a really difficult shot from a hundred feet and a putt. That makes the second shot more important which is kind of the whole point, right?
It's hard to prepare. Just go out and practice, bang a few really long ones. Go to the far right side of the green and get a feel for what it's doing and how hard you have to swing it, do I need to wrist cock and don't take a divot.
Those long putts are tough. You really got nowhere to practice it except for a place like this. I'm sure a few guys have banged a few ones just to get some idea of how hard you have to hit it. I think the fans want to see us hit the hundred yard putts too, sometimes. It's fun stuff.
Q. I know one of the story lines around here is how well Jordan Spieth is going to do and I guess my question involves how much do golfers see a player who is playing well and maybe is at a, quote unquote, home course or has a home course advantage and how much do you try and say okay, this is what to expect from him, this is the level where I need to be better than?
GEOFF OGILVY: Look, I mean we all just try to go out and have the lowest score we can. You would think on paper he's the favorite because he plays here a lot and even outside the fact if he never even been here it's the course that suits the way he plays.
He's a very smart guy and he likes plotting it around the course. He doesn't overpower courses. He does it with his brain.
This is that sort of course. I mean you look at names on the leaderboard but I don't think it really affects what guys do until maybe really deep into a tournament. Starting tomorrow everyone is trying to have the lowest score they can.
If you beat Jordan Spieth this week you're probably going to finish pretty well, I would think.
Q. Geoff, I know some people in the area are concerned that moving this tournament from Las Colinas to here might deter players from coming back only because it's not affiliated with the Four Seasons Hotel. Lot of people like taking their families and things like that.
Do you think that will be a deterrent for players not to potentially come here just because Four Seasons isn't at the back door?
GEOFF OGILVY: I hope not. I hope -- look, there's so many factors in why we play tournaments and that's one of them for sure. There's some tournaments with great hotels on-site and Las Colinas was one, and San Antonio was one another. They're great. Lot of people go. That's the fun, yes, I want to go because I can stay on-site.
Hopefully the course and the way we all talk the next couple weeks in the locker room will be really important from this tournament's respect. The tournaments that you feel like you've missed out -- if everyone next week goes into the locker room, "You should have played last week, it was brilliant, didn't worry about a hotel. It's great, it's a good course", that little period of time is really important to get guys back next year.
I think the hotel -- that was one of the best setups of the year with Four Seasons and the gym and being on-site. That was great. But that's just a small part of why guys make a decision. I don't think it will be too big a change in that respect.
Q. Lot of times you will talk about Jordan Spieth, they say the sum is greater than the parts.
What is it you admire about his game?
GEOFF OGILVY: He's the best scorer out here. He seems to be the guy when you play with him that you just add up a couple less shots than it looked like he had.
Tiger used to do the same. Still does the same, really. I don't know that is. I mean it's hard to put your finger on it. You can't go through the stats and find that. It's the intangibles.
When he misses, he misses in the right spot. When he has that important ten foot putt for par on the 8th hole that's -- he makes the important putt to keep the momentum going at the time and you can't statistically measure that. That's just one of those things, you know, that you notice it when it happens but you can't really measure it.
He does that stuff really well. I think he has a really good sense for what score he needs to shoot for the week. His patience. On the outside he sometimes is chattering to himself pretty hard, his patience level is pretty high and he can turn it around pretty quick like Tiger used to.
As I said, it's a hard thing to put a finger on. He's probably the best scorer. He just -- the sum of his shots seem to add up to slightly less than the sum of the shots from another guy.
You know what I mean? That's always been an attribute of the best guys. I might have to ask him how he does it. He does the things that are important really well.
Q. Geoff, another Jordan question. You played at golf courses where you theoretically had a great home course advantage, Victoria or Royal Melbourne.
He has on paper a huge advantage having played so many rounds here and Hunter Mahan, being the only other person who played a lot.
Can that be a negative in that you, especially with this design, if you are not playing to a certain level you expect early on, it almost adds more pressure having that much knowledge of the course, the advantage you should have?
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah. This week especially this seems to be a local knowledge course so we're all going to get better at it every year. He's kind of like a year or two in front of everyone's learning curve.
It does. Whenever I played at Victoria, which is my real home course advantage in Australia, there's a big wave of expectation. Especially the members around, he'll be bumping into members everywhere, "This is your week, Jordan."
It putts a little bit of weight on your shoulders. I still think once you start playing you kind of forget that stuff. If you get off to a rough start, maybe it weighs on you.
He's been around the block. He'll be able to handle it. You don't win as many big tournaments as him without being able to handle expectation.
The self-inflicted expectation is the hardest one to do. He'll do all right. You do carry a little bit of a weight of I'm really supposed to play well here this week. I kind of have to. That makes it tough.
Q. And knowing the golf course the way you do, if you were to speculate this week knowing how your peers play golf and approach this kind of course, where would you go set-up, what hole are you most interested in kind of watching and observing how the PGA TOUR players play this course?
GEOFF OGILVY: The obvious one is 5. Everyone loves a short par 4. Most guys can get there in one and you really have a decision, have to make a decision. That will be interesting because guys will, I assume early, most guys will hit driver and then after that a couple will get burnt and rethink and start laying it up short left.
I think 5 will be really interesting. You'll see -- I think was interesting to watch not seeing three guys in every group do the same thing. Three guys do different things. This course is going to provide that all over the place, especially there.
I think 7 is a really cool par 5. If guys are going to be able to get there in two you really have to take on the junk on the left. You have to hit a good shot and if you are basically right you have not much.
That will be one of those greens where guys are bouncing in like longer irons and 3-woods and stuff to get on the green and doing that sort of thing. I think that's always fun to watch.
I'm intrigued to see how 17 plays because it's pretty wild. I haven't met many players that love reverse tiers, tiers that go the wrong way.
Are guys going to fly it at the back when it's at the back or land it and roll it? There's a lot of good spots but 5 would be the one I would pick. You can see the tee shot and pitch and putts and the steam coming out of the ears. Yeah, I think that's going to turn out pretty well.
Q. Geoff, Brad mentioned the videos that you had done. Have many guys tried to pick your brain this week?
GEOFF OGILVY: I haven't really had any pick my brain but I've had quite a few say they watched them and I had a few guys after they watched those videos, "I committed to the tournament because you made it look more fun than I heard it was going to be."
That was good. No, I had a few guys comment. Everyone out here seems to -- whether they know what they're doing or not, they think they'll know what they're doing, right? Me included.
So there's less of that than there was in the old days.
Q. Do you have any idea from what a target score might be this week?
GEOFF OGILVY: I've never been good at that. I absolutely have no idea. I think tomorrow will be pretty telling. The wind doesn't look too crazy. It might be enough to create awkwardness.
Guys might be a little bit careful tomorrow just to kind of make sure they stay away from anything crazy. But no, I have absolutely no idea.
I assume guys will make some birdies out there because if you play well you'll be able to go low if you play well. If you start going a little bit off it might go quickly the other way. That didn't really answer the question. I'm really not sure.
Q. You are not far into your 40s, less than a year, if I'm not mistaken. I wondered if you look around this week and noticed there's going to be quite a few guys of a, quote unquote, certain age playing?
GEOFF OGILVY: Are you saying the field average is quite an old age?
Q. Little higher than normal.
GEOFF OGILVY: I think that's partly the spot in the schedule is tricky. Top 50 in the world guys who are generally the younger guys, they probably played last week and play Colonial, and then Memorial.
The young guys seem to play less than we even did. I don't know how much you read into that. Maybe just an aberration, I think.
MARK WILLIAMS: We appreciate your time. Good luck this week.
GEOFF OGILVY: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports