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June 12, 2007

Geoff Ogilvy


RAND JERRIS: It's a pleasure to welcome Geoff Ogilvy to the interview room this afternoon. Geoff is playing in his fourth U.S. Open this week at Oakmont and he is our defending champion, having won the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot last year. Maybe you could reflect on what it's like being introduced at the U.S. Open Champion everywhere you've went and what that's meant to you the last year.
GEOFF OGILVY: It's quite nice to be introduced as the U.S. Open Champion on the first tee every week. That doesn't get old. Hopefully that doesn't stop after this week.
It's been nice. It was obviously a really crazy way to win the golf tournament last year from everyone's perspective. And the next week or so was nuts with all of the attention, and after that just got back to normal and just staring at the trophy on the mantle or the last 12 months, it's been nice.
RAND JERRIS: How would you compare Oakmont to Winged Foot last year, and what you think the keys to success are going to be?
GEOFF OGILVY: This is a fantastic golf course. It's one of the best golf courses I have ever seen, actually, I think -- it's windy in here.
It's a great property. It looks fantastic without any trees on it. I can't picture it without any trees on it. That's how good it looks without trees. Collection of the best greens I've seen anywhere.
The bunkers are tough and the rough is really tough. It's a great golf course. It's completely different from Winged Foot, a different type of property, a different type of golf course, but Winged Foot is fantastic, too.
Difficulty? It all depends on how you set it up and where you put pin positions. Could you set this golf course up easy if you want to -- I know the members don't like to hear that, but if you put the pins on the low parts of the greens and had the rough playable, there would be quite a lot of birdies out there. But if you put the pins on the high parts of the greens where you can't get anywhere near, and with the rough like it is, it could be the hardest course in the world with no wind. You know, with no wind involved, it's incredible how hard this golf course can play.
That's what a good golf course does. It can be set up a variety of ways, and hopefully it's a balanced setup every day and there's some chances on some holes and tough stuff on other holes.
It's basically not what I was expecting, because I always think of the other things when I go to a golf course, so this is good.

Q. There appear to be more Aussies on Tour these days than there has been for a long time. Has your victory helped inspire a resurgence in Aussie golf internationally?
GEOFF OGILVY: I think the resurgence was happening well before I won last year. Australian golf has been pretty strong for a few years now, and it's only getting stronger. Maybe my win will spur on a bunch of Australian wins and that will have an impact in 20 years' time because of all of the kids picking up clubs.
Apparently it fired a few people up in Australia and a few of the Australians on Tour; that if I can win, why can't they? It's definitely good for Australian golf. I don't know if it's going to have an immediate resurgence but it's going to help.

Q. Last week it was reported that you shot 85 and lost half a dozen balls; is that accurate?
GEOFF OGILVY: That's an exaggeration. I think I shot 83 and lost two. But it was hard. It was five shots harder last Monday than it is right now, by more than that probably. It was really hard. I thought there's no way -- I didn't think there would be one score in the 60s at all, and I thought there would be scores in the 90s, the way we played it last Monday. But the last couple of days, it's been a lot more playable than that, because I think they had some rains and the greens slowed down and softened up, and the grass is shorter around the greens than it was then. So I did have a lot of shots. I lost to Scotty by 12 shots.

Q. And you said that last year, you didn't feel like you were necessarily playing that great, yet you still won. For what it's worth, what's the state of your game at the moment?
GEOFF OGILVY: I wouldn't say I wasn't playing great last year. At the start of the week, I wasn't playing -- I felt a lot -- I felt a lot better before the week than I did before last year's tournament. I played great on the weekend last year. It's probably quite similar, really. It's not perfect. I played quite well at Memorial a couple of weeks ago and then didn't do so well last week. So I'm not playing my best but it's definitely -- it's coming. It's on the right track. So my game is probably -- I could be two or three days away from playing really, really well, I think. It's in a good spot.

Q. What did you do on No. 8 today, and what do you think of that hole in general?
GEOFF OGILVY: I hit it to about this far, (indicating two feet. ) so I made birdie. (Laughter). I said maybe we should lengthen the hole; it was a bit too easy today.
It's a bit longer than I would picture as an ideal par 3. I think it's a great hole; it's 240 or 250 yards, and it's that sort of hole. You have to bounce it up; it's probably the flattest green on the course.
I'm not a big fan of drivers and 3-woods into the par 3 with no wind. If it blows into the wind, no one is going to get there in one.
But it is what it is. It's going to average less over par than probably 15 other holes out there. It's going to be one of the easier holes for the week. So probably, I guess, there's a lot harder holes than that. It's not what I have as a par 3 but it's not unfair.

Q. What did you hit?

Q. I'm sure you've been asked this probably many a time, but have you and Phil talked about what happened last year at Winged Foot? Do you guys have any conversations?
GEOFF OGILVY: Not really, actually. It's not really the right thing for, me I don't think, to bring up in conversation. I'm sure we'll chat about it one day. I mean, we see each other out on golf tournaments and stuff, but we haven't really had a deep and meaningful about it.

Q. Do you think it's fair that wherever he goes that's brought up to him and he has to kind of deal with that?
GEOFF OGILVY: That's fair enough. It's part of last year's golf tournament, that story. So it's going to be talked about.

Q. I'm just interested in something Scotty was telling me at Augusta, which is that he said that you told him that majors are the easiest tournaments to win because just have to hang around and hang around and hang around and then do, you know, have a good round on the last day or the last nine holes or the last three holes or whatever it is. Do you still feel that way, and can you expound a little bit on that?
GEOFF OGILVY: There's an element to majors that they are easier to win than a normal tournament -- you've got to play better golf in a major to be at the top because the golf courses test more of your game.
But there's less players in the field who truly believe they can win one of these. You go to a regular Tour event and there are 120 guys that really believe they can win that week. Here, there might be 20 guys, who going to bed on Wednesday night really believe that they can truly win a golf tournament.
I would have said that before the U.S. Open last year, too. I really think that there's an element -- I mean, there's a lot of it -- that it's a lot harder to win than a normal tournament. There are only four a year; there are lots of elements that are harder but there are parts of majors that I think are easier than a regular tournament.

Q. And in terms of --
GEOFF OGILVY: Well, if you're hanging around, in a regular tournament, you shoot 65 on Saturday and 65 on Sunday -- well not really, but you have to keep making birdies, and no one is afraid of getting out there on the leaderboard; whereas no one ever really runs away with a major save. One guy who has done it a few times in the last ten years. A lot of times you can be in the top 20, have two okay rounds and finish fifth. They toughen the golf courses up and people start thinking about how good they are going to finish. Fields come back in majors; they don't keep going.
Sometimes it's easier to hang around par and watch people go behind you than it is to make birdies and pass people, like in a regular tournament. There's elements -- there's parts of a major that are easier to move up on the weekend. You know this weekend if you're doing it right and you par the first nine holes, you though you'll be in a better position in the field than when you started.
The Memorial a few weeks ago, you start out parring the first nine holes, you would have dropped 20 spots. It's almost easier than making four birdies on the front nine.

Q. In terms of difficulty, how would you compare this course with Winged Foot, and what are the key differences between the two courses as an Open challenge?
GEOFF OGILVY: Depends on how you set them up. The way we played Winged Foot last year on the weekend, it was really tough. Winged Foot is narrower than here, or the way it was set up last year, Winged Foot was narrower than here.
The greens here are the obvious challenge to me. Everything else out there is similar U.S. Open. It's narrowish fairways, pretty good rough, bunkers, and the greens here are something different. They are amazing greens. I mean, they are probably some of my favorite greens I've ever seen. They run a bit faster than maybe they should in spots.
The key here is to keep it inside the rough and to keep it under the hole on the green. You're probably better off even off the green under the hole than you are on the green above the hole. And that's similar at Winged Foot, but it's more obvious here. You probably had a small amount of a chance from above the hole at Winged Foot; whereas, here you have basically none. So it's the same principle. It's just magnified here around the greens because the slopes are so much greater.

Q. You alluded to Tiger a minute ago. On this course is he a bigger favorite than normal, lesser favorite than normal, same as normal, and why?
GEOFF OGILVY: All of the above. If he comes to this tournament, like when he takes his true, like Hoylake game to the tournament, you can play with a 2-iron a lot, and conservatively off the tee, I think he can, and he's long enough to come out with two or three drivers a day, and when he's only hitting two or three drivers a day, he's by so far and away the best player in the world it's silly, especially on a tough course like this, because he's got a great short game and he's a great putter, and that's what this course is going to be about.
If he lashes out with driver it's probably going to give us more of a chance, because you just have no chance in the rough out here, especially if you're on the wrong sides of fairways. So he doesn't tend to make too many strategic errors in majors so he'll probably play quite conservatively which means he'll probably be a pretty decent favorite, I would have thought.

Q. Given what you've just said, is it a good thing that you're drawn with him?
GEOFF OGILVY: I think so. I've always played decent when I've played with him. It sounds silly, it's almost easier to focus in his group because it's just complete chaos around you, and when there's that much chaos going on, you ignore it and it all blends in and you don't notice it as much.
Yeah, it's great playing with him. It's always a good time to play with him because it's a good opportunity to watch the best golfer of all time pick his way around the great golf course. I've always played well when I've played with him, and I really enjoy playing with him, so every opportunity you get I enjoy it.

Q. Would you pick him if you had to pick yourself?
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, I'd probably play with him by choice, yeah.

Q. As you look back over the last year, apart from things like being invited to the media centers on Tuesdays, how has your life been impacted by winning the U.S. Open, and what's happened that you wouldn't have guessed and what are some of the sort of interesting things that have occurred?
GEOFF OGILVY: You guys actually care what I say now which is a bit random really. It's, "Hey, Geoff, can I have your autograph?" now, instead of, "Hey you," or, "Hey Joe."
It's pretty much what I expected. The first couple of weeks was nuts. I didn't fully appreciate how many people actually watch this golf tournament on TV or how many people -- this goes way beyond the normal golf. You could win six regular tournaments on Tour, and then the outside of the golf world would not know who you are, but you win this and everyone knows, or everybody saw it or heard about it, or someone else watched them and was telling them about it. It's amazing how many people I've bumped into who know, and people will go into a restaurant and know who I am and not Scotty, which is bizarre because he is much more recognizable than me.
It's how far-reaching this tournament goes surprised me, actually. The rest was just a bit more attention here and there, as expected. But how many people actually know what happened and watched it last year is incredible.

Q. Probably something you don't want to talk about, but how did you celebrate your 30th?
GEOFF OGILVY: We sat around, we just had dinner at the house we're staying in that we rented last night. It was just -- we're renting a house with Adam. Talked to a few people in Australia on the phone. Had one beer, I think, couple of cokes. Julie cooked a cake. It was good. Nothing too exciting. Sunday night we might have a belated commiserations, I don't know.

Q. Not that you can or would want to change history, but do you think maybe if Phil had bogeyed the final hole last year and you had beaten him in the Monday playoff, would you have got more recognition for winning rather than everyone remembering Phil for losing it?
GEOFF OGILVY: I don't know, maybe. I don't know. I don't know.
I don't know, probably. There's a bunch of people who think of last year and think about Phil, and there's probably a few people that think about me. That's just the way it turned out. I'm not going to complain about it the way it turned out. It turned out how it turned out. He could have made birdie, and I could have lost two and been pretty happy about finishing second in the U.S. Open. He did what he did and I won and I didn't have to change my flight and my hotel reservation.

Q. A lot of guys win a major and they don't win another one. Do you want to be the guy that adds a few more to those, and do you now think to yourself that Winged Foot -- that you expect more of yourself now, so when you come here, do you have that expectation or pressure on yourself?
GEOFF OGILVY: No more than I used to. I probably put less expectations on myself than I used to actually.
It works both ways. You can walk around thinking I should play better now because I won the U.S. Open and I should win more and I should do that, but I can walk around saying, well, I won the U.S. Open last year, what does it matter how I played. So I'm caught in between.
Obviously I want to win all four. I want to win a hundred golf tournaments and -- I mean, I want to win them all. If I don't, I'll get over it, you know. I just like playing golf and I like playing golf well. If I do that, I think I'll be in with a chance to win these for another ten years or so, and then I'll just stop playing and go sit on the beach in Australia. And if I've won one, then I've won one. And if I've won ten, I've won ten. And anywhere in the middle is -- would be fantastic.

Q. On that theme a little bit, you mentioned a moment ago that in majors there's 20 guys that think that they can win. Previous to last year, were you one of those? Did you walk into a major and think that? And second part of that would be, do you walk into any major now regardless of the course thinking that you could be the one?
GEOFF OGILVY: I was really -- I was getting there. I think I was -- obviously I was there at Winged Foot. The two or three majors previous I had played really well. I think St. Andrews I finished fifth the year before, and that was the first time I thought, yeah, I could actually do all right in these things. And then at Baltusrol I finished sixth and I felt like there was a lot of that tournament I threw three or four shots away and I thought, yeah, you could actually win one of these. And Augusta I felt pretty decent after that. It was building. I think by the time I got to Winged Foot, Winged Foot was probably one of the first ones I went to thinking I could do it. But it had been getting there. It wasn't like I just switched it on. It was this build-up of -- build-up of belief, if you like.
And now, yeah, truly I do, I went to Hoylake expecting if I play well, I was going to be right there and the same at Medinah and the same this year at Augusta. I turned up -- I think about them at the start of the year, and I truly think about -- I've got to play well obviously, but I still think I have a chance.

Q. Just going back to Augusta for a minute. You had played very well this week except for three holes. How did you get over that and what did you learn from that?
GEOFF OGILVY: The third shot on 15 plays longer than it looks. That was annoying because yeah, I tripled the second hole on Thursday, which was not a very intelligent thing to do.
But by the time I got to 15th on Saturday, I was 3-over par. At that point it looked like 8-over par could win. I mean, it was that hard on Saturday. Everyone was going sideways. I was one or two back at that point or maybe even was leading but I was exactly where I would like to be with 22 holes to play.
So obviously hitting two in the water from 80 yards was a pretty disappointing thing. I was pretty annoyed about it. I was just disappointed. I mean, disappointed I walked away -- truly I walked away thinking if you lineup on 15 again, remember it is further than it looks, and I walked away thinking after Augusta, I thought, I felt better about future Masters than I did before Augusta.
I felt like I threw in so much junk and I still, with 22 holes to play, I was right in the golf tournament. I was pretty happy with that because I felt like I could have been in a lot better shape even at that point. I walked away more feeling like I could win one day than I did before. So that's what I looked at and not the train wrecks I had.
RAND JERRIS: Geoff, thank you for your time this afternoon and good luck this week.

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