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July 18, 2006

Geoff Ogilvy


STEWART McDOUGALL: Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Geoff Ogilvy, thanks for coming across, early in the morning, half past 8:00.

You won the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. Tell us how you find the course here compared to the one at Winged Foot.

GEOFF OGILVY: Well, it's about as different as you can get, I guess. It's a little bit wider off the tee, which is nice. It's a lot firmer, it's probably the firmest links course we've played in a long time. And they've only been running 30 yards, and these are 60 yards. It's perfect, which is the way it should be.

The rough is playable. If you hit it in the bunkers, you're going to be in that's a chip out in most cases, but the rough you have to be able to play from. So in some cases you're laying back with really, really short clubs, just to make sure you don't run out to the bunkers, to give yourself longer second shots, but it's better than being in the bunkers, so it's a fun course.

Q. When you won The Open, obviously it seemed as if more was made of the way players lost it than the way you won it. Is that something you took note of and is that at all bothersome?

GEOFF OGILVY: Not really. You'd obviously love to win it by five shots and come up the last and know you've won it and all that. But I definitely got a big break on the last hole with Monty and Phil, really. It doesn't happen to everybody. It doesn't usually happen. But I played 72 holes in less shots than anyone else and I won the trophy, so it's pretty if that had happened to Greg Norman in Australia in the last few holes on the Australian Open, it would all be made about him if it was anyone else. You can understand why it was written up like it was, because it must have been quite a bizarre way for a tournament win for everyone watching. It must have been an interesting one to watch.

Q. Can I ask what the reaction has been? I know you went back to Australia.

GEOFF OGILVY: They're pretty excited in Australia. It's a pretty good deal. An Australian hasn't won a major since '95, Elkington. They're taking it and running with it, they're pretty excited.

Q. This course has numerous places where there's out of bounds. Could you talk about how much that affects you and how you play this golf course? And also, could you talk about specifically the 18th hole and if that's as hard as it looks with that out of bounds so far on the right?

GEOFF OGILVY: Out of bounds, the two obviously would be the 3rd and the 18th. The 3rd you have to be cautious, because it's draining so much to the left, so it's probably more a play on the second shot, because you're going to have quite a long second shot in sometimes.

18 is a strange it's a funny kind of tee shot, especially if the wind is pushing it that direction, as well. It's the bunkers that you can't really carry. Yesterday you couldn't carry on the left, so you've really got to start it up the middle and it's quite a weird tee shot. It's one of the strangest holes I've seen but actually quite fun to play, I think. It's a fun hole.

We don't have out of bounds on the last hole on many golf courses. It's going to be interesting. I don't know, I've never really played them much. But it's not like last year at St. Andrews, you can poke it down there somewhere, you have to on the second shot, as well. I mean, it's in play with the second shot. Same with the third and 18th, out of bounds is in play, which is interesting. It's funny, somebody could come back with a 3 on the last or an 8 on the last, which is what you want, I guess, at the end of a tournament.

Q. I was just wondering what it's been like these weeks heading up for your first tournament as U.S. Open champion?

GEOFF OGILVY: It's been good. I have had a hard time getting anywhere. Because I haven't seen anyone, really, since the U.S. Open, except for the old guys. It's been a lot of congratulations and well done and all that. Walking across the range takes quite a while because you have to see everyone. It's been fun.

Q. You've taken a bit of a calculated risk in not playing anything apart from the U.S. and this. I'm wondering how that's panning out.

GEOFF OGILVY: I feel like I'm playing okay. There may be some competitive I can only answer that after I've started. I've never done it before, take four weeks off. I was going to do it anyway, so it worked out good that I won. We'll see, if I'm not sharp enough this week, I might not do it again. But part of the reason I did it is just to see if I could get away with doing it because this is such a different tournament than anywhere else we play.

So if I prepared for it in a different way, you can get a bit you can mess your preparation up, I think, by playing a golf course that is the exact opposite than the one here. I just tried to prepare for this without letting anything else get in the way. It might be all right, it might be a disaster, we'll see.

Q. How have you prepared? Where have you been?

GEOFF OGILVY: Well, mostly in Australia. I didn't get here until three or four days ago. I went down and played Sunnydale; it's not a links golf course, but it was fast. It must not have rained in England for two months. The country has changed since I left last. There's some good golf courses in Australia. There's some on the coast, and I was down there, and practicing all the shots I need to practice. Australia is a pretty good place to practice, because you don't have the rough around the greens, not like the U.S. where there's rough around the greens. But you can do your bump and runs, and it was cold and windy in Australia, which it's like Bermuda outside at the moment, or Teneriffe, it's the best weather I've ever seen. Maybe I shouldn't have been in the cold weather in Australia.

Q. Did you play a lot of links golf growing up?

GEOFF OGILVY: Quite a bit. I played St. Andrews Links Trophy and British Amateur, and I played quite a few. Even when we weren't playing like amateur stuff we were we were playing all that amateur stuff, and there would be two weeks, and you'd go find some golf courses to play and stuff. I've loved it the whole time. I've played quite a bit. But this is as fiery as any golf course I've ever seen. It's going to be fun.

Q. I was wondering, have you watched the video of the U.S. Open and what if so, what went through your mind? If no, forget about it.

GEOFF OGILVY: I haven't sat down and watched the whole thing. I've seen the highlights a few times, like what happened on the last few holes. It's interesting. With 20 minutes to go, five guys could win. It's weird. As I said, it didn't seem that bizarre for me, I was just trying to grind and make pars, really. It was yeah, I only watched I watched what Phil did on 16, 17 and 18, Monty's on 18. I haven't seen Monty play at all on TV. It was just weird. I'll sit down one day in 20 years and watch it, probably enjoy it.

Q. Since you've had this much time off, and you never know on your first one, and I'm assuming that was actually one of your goals is to win more than one, have you had a chance to kind of sit back and kind of reassess where you go from here?

GEOFF OGILVY: Not really reassessing, just I guess your goal always is to win more and win lots. I've never really had any specific goal, I want to win this many, you just want to win them.

I guess I got there faster than I thought I might. It came up pretty quick, you know. I've been playing well probably the 12 months before the U.S. Open. So I looked on the cards but nine months ago, two years ago, I would have said maybe not. I guess it's made me believe that I can win; obviously if you can win one, you can win more. It's made me want to win more, hungrier, so it was quite good fun to win one of those.

Q. Would you have thought the U.S. Open would have been your first?

GEOFF OGILVY: I thought the U.S. Open would be my last. Everyone has asked me, I don't know why. For my reasoning it didn't make sense. My reasoning is because I don't drive the ball very straight; that's probably the weakest attribute. But the more you play U.S. Opens, the more you realize that nobody hits fairways. Strikers are missing fairways, so people that hit it a bit wide have probably an advantage, because they're used to playing out of the rough. It's just that narrow.

If you look at the guys up there, Monty is a straight driver, but Phil doesn't hit it very straight. I don't hit it very straight. There's a good cross section of people. It doesn't seem to be only strikers that don't do it well. Maybe my reasoning was wrong, but that's the one I would have picked last. This one is the one I would pick first, because there's a large percentage of the field here that doesn't play or hasn't played much links golf. I always said I have played more than a lot of guys.

And this is the one the Australians dream of winning. I think the U.S. Open is like the British people here, it's like Wimbledon for a Brit. It's like I don't know, I think The British Open is the one for the worldwide players, and the U.S. Open is the magic one for the U.S. players. If I was asked to prioritize when I was a kid, this would be number one, I think.

Q. When you were growing up, would you play a fair amount of golf on hard and fast courses? If you didn't, do you think that would be unexpected how warm it is this week? Do you feel your game is going to be even better suited to The Open this week than it has been in the past?

GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, I think the harder and faster it is, the more I'll enjoy it, the more yeah, because there will be a lot of guys you'd never see a golf course this firm. A firm golf course would be running five yards, no mud on the ball is firm. So that's a pretty big difference from that.

In Australia we play greens that are this firm very regularly. The fairways not quite as fast, usually, unless they're really fast. But this kind of golf it definitely helps to have played on fiery places like this before. Because you can hit 3 irons 270 yards, but you've it takes a while to compute distances and where you've got to land things, and I think there's a bit of an experience thing there. But I don't know, everyone in the field is a good player. They've got two, three, four practice rounds to work it out. But it might be a bit of a help from experience.

Q. How much pressure did you feel over the were you ready for that? Was it different?

GEOFF OGILVY: The first few holes I found hardest on Saturday and Sunday. Once you get into your round, you're into your round, I never thought about winning until I chipped in on 17. I knew I was having a good tournament, I knew I was there. You think about winning, but not realistically. You know you're doing well, you know there's a chance. It's so hard that it's almost like it deflects you thinking about anything else except for the next shot, because it's so hard.

After the chip on 17 I got pretty nervous. And when I finished when I watched when I was sitting in the scorer's hut, I saw him hit the second shot, I got pretty nervous then. I've been more nervous in golf tournaments before, believe it or not, which is quite strange, but I wasn't perfectly comfortable over the last couple of holes.

Q. I wonder what the reaction was when you did go home, ticker tape parade, did you go to your hometown, how did people react, treat you, how did your life change?

GEOFF OGILVY: It was pretty big. The Premiere of Victoria is like the Premiere of our state, Governor, threw a reception or something. And all the people from golf came and that was quite a nice deal. And my golf club threw me a big party. It wasn't crazy.

The World Cup was going on, and the Socceroos were doing quite well at the time. The day after I got home, the big Croatian they drew Croatia, in 24 hours, it was all about soccer again, not the golf. I got lucky in that respect, I guess.

But the golf community has taken it pretty well, I mean it's pretty big in the golf community. The Tour has been struggling, I guess, the last few years. It's been condensing, and running out of dates and stuff. It's going to help that. And they're all pretty excited about that.

Q. Did they recognize you at the airport and restaurants?

GEOFF OGILVY: I had a few times, yeah, down where I live in the local places, where I grew up in Australia, I had a few people come up and say well done. Not everywhere, but it happened a few times. And it never used to happen at all, so a few times is a lot.

Q. Did you have the trophy with you?

GEOFF OGILVY: I didn't, no. I will take it back at the end of the year. It's a very big box, and I'll take it back at the end of the year.

STEWART McDOUGALL: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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