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April 2, 2007

Geoff Ogilvy


ROB JOHNSTON: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Rob Johnston with the media committee, and it is certainly a great pleasure and honor to have with us today Mr. Geoff Ogilvy, one of the great stars in golf today. Some of Geoff's accomplishments really is the winner of the 2005 Chrysler Classic of Tucson, winner of the 2006 World Golf Championships Accenture Match-Play Championship and runner-up in 2007 and he also tied for ninth at the 2006 PGA Championship and is the reigning champion of the 2006 U.S. Open.
Geoff, thank you very much for being with us. It's a real treat to have you with us and if you would like to open up this session with the media to have any comments, we would welcome them.
GEOFF OGILVY: What do you say, it's the Masters, the weather's perfect, and I'm a bit excited about it to be honest with you.
What do you say, I mean, it's Augusta and it's a fun place to be. My game feels pretty decent and I've been looking forward to this since Sunday last year so I'm happy to be here.
ROB JOHNSTON: Thank you. We would like to open it up to questions.

Q. I read someplace about the gold shoes. Tell me -- tell us about those shoes. Are you going to wear them during the whole course of the tournament? One round of the tournament?
GEOFF OGILVY: I'll wear them a couple days. And Johan Edfors is going to wear them a couple of days.
No, they are pretty cool. When I heard gold shoes, I raised an eyebrow, but actually when I got them, they are pretty sweet. I think they are nice. Classy golf, if that can be done; they are nice.

Q. Is it Thursday, Friday are your days, and Saturday, Sunday --
GEOFF OGILVY: I'm definitely going to wear them on Wednesday for the practice round and the Par 3 and then sometime later in the week.

Q. Do they match the shirt you've got on now? (Orange shirt)
GEOFF OGILVY: They are gold-gold, like Michael Johnson in Atlanta gold. I mean, they are nice. They are good shoes. So you'll have to wait and see.

Q. And the purpose is to have something different; are you going to auction them off?
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, there's some going off to charities and stuff, yeah.

Q. Will they go with a green jacket?
GEOFF OGILVY: Anything goes with a green jacket I think. (Laughter)
Q. What about your game? You played out here last Monday I believe.
GEOFF OGILVY: Last Monday, yeah. It's pretty decent. I played nicely at Doral, the last tournament I played. I came out here Monday and had a bit of a look. It's pretty decent. It's hard to tell out here. You've got to do so many things right.
But it feels better than it did this time on Monday last year, so that's good.

Q. Last year you sort of were quite enamored with the place and I think you were playing -- you played a lot of holes every day, and so almost as if you were a fan. Has it changed this year?
GEOFF OGILVY: Well, I'm still a fan. And I'd still play -- if there wasn't a golf tournament to play, but it's a long week, I'd play more than one round a day here probably. It's just a fun place. I mean, that's the whole point of golf, isn't it, just to enjoy being out there, and especially when it's nice like this.
I'll play a lot of holes this week. I won't spend a lot of time on the range. I don't spend a lot of time on the range even when I'm grinding. So this week will be no different. I'd rather get my practice and enjoy it out on the golf course. I'll play 18 every day probably.

Q. I'm sure you've seen it; there was a big in-depth article in Golf Week last week about Australia's sort of drought at the Masters. I know you've been asked this question before, but what's your thoughts about one of the seven guys breaking the drought this week?
GEOFF OGILVY: It's actually not a drought because it's never rained at all. (Laughter).
It's obviously, it's kind of a bit of an enigma, because you think, it's such a similar style of play, and it looks different, but to Royal Melbourne or Kingston Heath, it's similar style of shots that you need to play well here. Obviously Greg had a few chances. Grades (Wayne Grady) was up there one year, and Finchie; guys have had a chance.
Just like every other tournament in the world in the moment, Australians are more likely to win one now than they were five years ago because there's more in the field and more good players. I don't know, every year the chances go up of the drought being broken. But, who knows.

Q. Following up on that, do you think it's more of an enigma that an Aussie has not won here ever when you talk about numbers or that a European has not won a U.S. major other than this one in close to 40 years? Again, given the numbers.
GEOFF OGILVY: That's a strange one. Because they won here every year -- there was a period where Seve, Woosie, Jose, Langer, Faldo, they had this place worked out there for a while.
I don't know. It's a little bit strange, isn't it. There's a lot of good European players, isn't it. The Ryder Cup has been pretty strong recently. They could obviously handle the pressure and handle playing on golf courses like the other two majors are played on. One of those unexplainables probably.

Q. For you, are you more equipped this year based on one year of experience here at Augusta, or the experience of being a U.S. Open Champion?
GEOFF OGILVY: Well, both really. I think every round you play out here, you're better off the next round you play, experience-wise. Because there's so much to learn. I'm sure guys who have been playing here 30 years still learn something most times they go out.
And obviously, you feel -- winning something like the U.S. Open just makes you feel -- I mean, half the battle in majors is feeling like you can win a major I imagine. Because the first time you tee up in one of these things, just playing in it is overwhelming. Thinking you can win it is the first hurdle to being able to actually do it. So if you've won one, that's one of the things that gets out of the way. You'll feel better about it on the weekend, because I've been there kind of recently. It's kind of easier if you've been there recently than a guy who has not been there or hasn't been there for a while. So I'm sure it helps.

Q. I was wondering if after the Open, do you hear more fans knowing who you are or thinking they know who you are or do you still get a lot of, "Hey, who do you think that guy is in the orange shirt"?
GEOFF OGILVY: Since the U.S. Open?

Q. Yeah.
GEOFF OGILVY: It's been pretty good. It used to be, "Hey, you." Or, "Hey, Joe."

Q. Joe's not here this week.
GEOFF OGILVY: Joe's not here this week. (Laughter)
So it's better. There's guys out there who wouldn't know -- not at this golf tournament; everyone here is a fair golf fan and I think they know most of the guys out there. Some golf tournaments, you get some interesting people who must never have watched a golf tournament before in their life. But for the most part, it's, "Hey, Geoff." So it's good.

Q. But people recognize you this week?
GEOFF OGILVY: I think people who come to this golf tournament are really pretty good golf fans I think, or they have strived to come here for such a long time, too. People who really strive to come to this tournament and watch the golf tournament I think are true golf lovers.

Q. On the non-drought, I was going to ask you, a lot of the Australian guys grew up almost inspired to play the game watching Norman here. Is there any sense that you can get over-awed by the place, the Australians in particular?
GEOFF OGILVY: There's a lot of -- I don't think it's exclusive to Australians. It would be very easy to get over-awed here. Just because by the time you get here, most guys who get here have probably watched the Masters 20 times on TV. So any time you see something on TV, it seems like such a big deal.
Yeah, and all you guys every year are saying, "When is an Australian going to win here, when is an Australian going to win here," probably doesn't help everyone's cause. Someone will do it. Adam won last week; he's one week away from winning a major. Stuart is obviously close; Robert (Allenby) had played great this year; Badds is playing great this year. Five years ago, oh, there's one or two guys who might do all right in the Masters. There's five or six legitimate guys right now who you could see winning on Sunday, that I could see winning; I don't know if you guys can.
But there's five or six Australians that I could see legitimately wearing a green jacket on Sunday and that's more than ever before. Before it was just Greg and Finchie, but Greg who was everyone focused on. I really think there's five or six guys here who would not be that much of a surprise if they won here this week.

Q. You mentioned the learning process before; what was the single best thing you learned from your first Masters this year?
GEOFF OGILVY: The putt from behind the hole on 13 is faster than it looks. Just choose a club you're comfortable with, choose a shot you're comfortable with, try to keep it below the hole as much as possible really. You can analyze this place as much as you want, but if you're below the hole, it's quite playable. If you're above the hole, it's basically unplayable. And there's a lot of shots that you can be very uncomfortable hitting. You're not comfortable aiming at the 11th green, just hit up to the right of the green because five is better than six. Five, you don't lose the tournament. There's so many shots out here that can make you feel awkward and that's why it's such a great golf course. It's the right thing to do, that's why it's such a great golf course.
Last year, if you can do anything, you just want to hit the shots that you're comfortable hitting. If you're uncomfortable, just don't do it; do something else.

Q. I have a follow-up on the golf course. It's been a year now since those massive changes. You guys don't seem to be talking much about the golf course in that regard. Is it an accepted standard now? Are people accustomed to it? What's the players' take on it?
GEOFF OGILVY: There was a lot of talk last year because there was a whole bunch of new changes. Any time there's a whole bunch of new stuff -- there's changes every year. Bunkers are a bit deeper or the grass is cut a different way in a certain spot. But whatever it is, it's either an acceptance of this is the Augusta we play now and everyone's -- people don't like change. People get uncomfortable with change and they turn up with something different.

Q. Was it a fair golf course for you guys?
GEOFF OGILVY: It's perfectly fair, isn't it? If you're below the hole, it's perfectly fair, but if you're above the hole, it's completely unfair, but it's your fault if you're above the hole. Yeah, it's perfectly fair.

Q. Who is giving you the best advice about playing Augusta National?
GEOFF OGILVY: It's more stuff that I've read, you know. Tiger you listen to. When he says something about doing something around here, you listen, because he seems to have worked this place out. But he said something like: You've got to put yourself in positions where you can be aggressive with your birdie putts, which fundamentally it's a fancy way of saying just hit it below the hole.
And I've played a lot of practice rounds -- last year I played with Adam who had been here quite a lot of times and I can't remember who I played with last year -- Freddie Couples I played a practice round with last year. And everyone's got their ways of playing holes that might be different from -- some people like to really snap-hook a 3-wood off the 10th and some people like to just hit a driver a bit straight. Everyone's got their -- puts their two cents in and I'm still working out what I want to do. But I'm getting more comfortable with it.

Q. I heard that you're thinking about laying up on the par-3 4th. Is that still the plan?
GEOFF OGILVY: I haven't said that this year. I might have said it somewhere.
It's not a completely farfetched thing to do, because it's -- you're never going to make -- if you hit it over the green on the 4th, you're not in good shape. I'm probably not going to try and lay it up. But it's not a completely ridiculous thing to do. I think it cuts out the big numbers anyway.

Q. So it's still a possibility?
GEOFF OGILVY: If the pin is weird, if the wind gets weird up there, because it can do that on the 4th. Vijay, I think, hit it in the stuff, and that's not obviously a very good spot to be. And it can swirl. You just don't want to get one of those gusts and hit it into the stuff over the back.
So if you feel uncomfortable about it, it's feasible with a pin it would be easy to pitch up to, yeah.

Q. But you still believe it's a fair hole?
GEOFF OGILVY: It's a reasonable play, definitely. Whatever you can do to keep it short of the hole there, and sometimes that will be the bunker. Sometimes that will be just short-left of the green, but that's never a bad play.

Q. When you were a kid, and you -- were you religious about getting up and watching this tournament, and if so, do you have recollections about Greg's catastrophes here, and what were your thoughts at the time and what were your feelings?
GEOFF OGILVY: I remember '86, but I think I remember it from watching the video. I was nine. I think I remember from watching the video. And everyone remembers '86, but I can't remember if I remember it live or from four years later.
But my first vivid memories were watching Faldo win twice in a row, '89 and '90, because Greg had kind of been close the few years before that, and I started really getting -- I was 13 or 14 then and I knew what was going on. And I watched every one in the '90s. The only one I really remember -- the only one that I thought was a true collapse that I watched, obviously '96 wasn't his best moment.
Yeah, I loved it. I couldn't wait. It started at 5:00 -- most guys in here are Australian, but it starts at four o'clock, 5:00 in the morning. I was waking up an hour before it, sitting in front of the TV, waiting for it. (Laughter) Couldn't get me out of bed for anything else.

Q. What were your feelings like, let's say '96, as a kid, did you feel like, "I want to go there and try that"?
GEOFF OGILVY: Oh, yeah. I actually practiced harder that day -- I remember hitting balls that day, because it inspired me to not do that. It's a weird way to get inspired, but I just got so fired up to practice that day because I thought if I ever get there, I don't want to do that, because that was hard to watch.

Q. The way the Open played out last year, there was a hundred more stories written on Phil than you. When you come to a major like this, do you see this as a chance to change people's perceptions or do you just kind of come to grips that the Open will always be remembered the way it's remembered?
GEOFF OGILVY: Well, I guess there's a few questions in there. Phil is always going to get more written about than me and he's earned that, because Phil is Phil, three majors and 30 tournament wins, and in a dramatic let's-write-about-this-guy style. He's been that way since he was 20.
Doesn't worry me at all when people don't write about me and didn't worry me too much that a lot of the publicity -- because I didn't read a paper or watch TV for a few weeks after the U.S. Open on purpose, because I'd prefer to just sit at home and look at the trophy. (Laughter) I'm not fussed about it. People might remember that, maybe if I win another one or two down the track in my career, maybe it will give that one more credibility for some people, but the trophy is making a nice little dust ring on my shelf at the moment.

Q. Just be curious if you found it any more difficult to play the Australian Open, having won the U.S. Open, than you did before?
GEOFF OGILVY: The Australian Open?

Q. Yeah.
GEOFF OGILVY: Not more difficult. There was more going on. I mean, I've never had a golf tournament like the Australian Open where between Monday and Wednesday, I had so little time to go out and play 18 holes. It was a busy week. And fair enough, too. Because the best thing about an Australian winning a major over here is it gets golf going in Australia more.
So it kind of would I guess a little bit, for that respect. But from the first day onwards, it was probably easier, because every tournament since the U.S. Open, I think I've felt like a better player than I did before the U.S. Open. Golf is much easier when you feel like you're a better player I think.

Q. You didn't feel any outside expectations because you're U.S. Open Champion?
GEOFF OGILVY: There's some expectations, but nothing can get close to what I've always put on myself.
Not really, no.

Q. After you won your U.S. Open last year, I think you said at the time you felt your most likely major breakthrough would have come at the British Open. Do you still feel that now, even though you've got a major under your belt? And what's your comfort level going into Augusta National and preparing for a links layout?
GEOFF OGILVY: Actually, believe it or not, I think really similar. There's a -- I mean, it's windy out here. It can be windy out here but not Scotland-windy. Windy here is not knowing where the wind is coming from. It's pretty obvious when you're playing in Scotland where the wind is coming from.
It's pretty similar. You have to play a lot of shots around the greens on the ground. You've got to hit the ball high here, which is an element that you don't need in Scotland I guess. But of any other golf tournament we play all year, this is as close -- this is as close to a links golf, preparation-wise for me anyway, because bump-and-run chip shots, using slopes as opposed to fighting against them, and the lack of rough around the greens, deep bunkers. I think this one, out of all four, this one and the British Open would suit me best because there's space off the tee usually, and I tend to be better when there's space off the tee. But didn't work out at the U.S. Open so I don't know how that works.
ROB JOHNSTON: Are there any other questions for Geoff?
Well, Geoff, we want to thank you very much for spending some time with us. It's been a real honor having you with us and we want to wish you the very best of luck this week. Play well, sir.
GEOFF OGILVY: Thank you.

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