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January 8, 2009

Geoff Ogilvy


DOUG MILNE: Geoff Ogilvy, thanks for joining us for a few minutes after round one of the 2009 Mercedes-Benz Championship. Certainly not a bad way to start the 2009 season. Just some comments about your round and how you're feeling.
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, feeling decent. I played pretty good. The only real time I was in trouble was on the 18th tee, I hit it in the hazard on my second shot. But the rest of the day, I was pretty much on the fairways, hit most of the greens and made a few putts. It was just nice, yeah.
I didn't do anything amazing, but I didn't do anything badly. I just played nice, and when I had to get something up-and-down, luckily most of the up-and-downs were for birdies, and I got them up-and-down.

Q. Was there some confusion about where you should drop on 18, or was it pretty straightforward?
GEOFF OGILVY: Not really. From where we were, it looked like it got over the hazard, and the guys behind the green were pointing to the marshal; it was 50 yards in the wrong spot. It's very hard to see where a ball comes down from behind. We've hit it, so we kind of know.
We all thought it had every chance to almost be in the bunker. We just had to ask whether it carried and then bounced into the hazard; because if it carries and bounces into the hazard, then you drop it right next to the green or right about there. But evidently took a while and it flew straight in there, and I had to go back to where it crossed the first time, yeah.

Q. What was your lie on the second shot?
GEOFF OGILVY: Fine. It was fine. It was sitting up in the sand -- what was my lie or my line?

Q. Lie.
GEOFF OGILVY: It was perfect. I just pulled it four or five yards.

Q. What club?

Q. Was this at all surprising to get this quick start today? You're talking about coming in here, worrying about flying to Dubai, etc., etc., but your golf, did you figure it was this good, this early?
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, I mean, we only finished the Australian Open three weeks ago, and I played three tournaments in five weeks, the end of November, December. And three weeks isn't enough to get rusty. Two months is. And normally I'm coming here after two -- well, the Australian Open used to be a bit earlier in December.
And I played really well in Australia up to three weeks ago, and kept playing through the time off I had. I had a week and a half off through Christmas, but I had a few social games and practice.
So I was playing well before Christmas, so it's not amazingly surprising I'm playing well now. I haven't shot very many good rounds around this course, so maybe that's a surprise thing. But the fact that I'm playing okay is not surprising, I don't think.

Q. Appleby won here three years in a row, and there was some thinking that having played at home, that he certainly didn't have as much rest as anyone else. Do you think there's some truth to that?
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, there's got to be a bit to it. Although with the Million Dollar Event and Tiger's event and all the other stuff, there are more guys playing into it December. I think back in the good old day, it was half the field of the old school guys, they were toning up, getting the club out of the bag for the first time in three months. I don't think anyone does that anymore.
We are definitely fortunate that it's only three weeks ago we were playing the premiere tournament in Australia, and that's usually windy and similar-type golf to Hawaii. So there's got to be a little bit in that, I think.

Q. Do you feel more relaxed this week than a typical tournament?
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, it's a pretty relaxing start. You typically don't spend a week on the range or the putting -- well, I don't. I don't do too much of that anyway, but I don't need to out here. You spend Monday on the beach and that sort of stuff and you don't do that during a normal tournament week.
So there's definitely a dimension here that allows to you relax for some reason. Maybe it's the short field and wide fairways and first week of the year and everybody makes a check, whatever it is; just everything about it is chilled out.

Q. No starting time before 10:45.
GEOFF OGILVY: Which is very nice, as well. 7:10 was a bit early. But Thursday through Sunday, no tee time before. So no alarm clocks as 5s or 6s, although there are two alarm clocks in the next room going off about 6:30. The rest of the West Coast, we are warming up and in the dark and in the cold, so this is nice.

Q. Do you find when you make a bogey it disappears a bit faster because of the frame of mind?
GEOFF OGILVY: I don't think so. I didn't make one today, so I don't know, but I'll tell you tomorrow (laughter). Probably a little bit. You want to play well any time you play. Once you are out there, you are pretty serious and nobody likes to make bogeys. The nature of this course is you can hit two or three good shots on every hole, you can still make a bogey because of the way the wind is into the green.
Partly because of the event and partly because of the course, maybe it's easier to handle bogeys.

Q. Any time you go 18 holes without a bogey, it must be particularly satisfying.
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, it's nice. It is, yeah. It's not like you're trying to achieve it when you play golf, but it's nice to not make any bogeys. Sometimes you can make a par on a par 5 and feel like you've made a bogey. Or sometimes you can make a par and feel like you've made a birdie. No bogeys is always nice.

Q. You mentioned you had not played well here in your previous appearances. Is this a course that takes a while to get to know, and did that come into play today?
GEOFF OGILVY: Maybe. The extreme conditions take a bit to get used to. Today is one of the better days we've had probably for the two times I've played, six and seven maybe. They have just redone the greens and they are probably a little bit firmer; and the fairways are really soft, so the ball is going nowhere, but the ball is bouncing out on the greens. And it was super windy, 6 and 7, 7 and 8, whatever it was, 6 and 7.
I found it incredibly difficult putting on the greens, and then there was some unbelievable -- like 10 and 13, 5 -- is it a par 5? Just some frightening greens when you first come to them.
I guess a bit of experience allows you to have your imagination that you really do have to hit it out there to have it go there.

Q. Can you talk about maybe the differences of trying to avoid 3-putts here with Augusta, factoring in the size of the green, the grain, all that stuff?
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, there's some similar-type putts out here, for sure. I never really approached a putt with the avoid-a-3-putt-mind-set. But if you hit it in the wrong spot here, it can be really similar.
At Augusta, you have some putts that you have no hope, or maybe everything has to be right for it to not go or make you look like an idiot.
Here, you can get a few putts like that, but the bermuda, usually you can -- putting is tricky around here. But you can usually get a putt within five or six feet. Sometimes at Augusta, if it doesn't stop two, it stops 32, you know. There's none of that around here. But there's definitely some 15-footers that break, Augusta-type breaks, sure.

Q. And no courses you play like this, I take it?
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, this is a fun course to play but every week it would wear you out, because it's extreme.

Q. When some people talk about things can look stale and similar week-after-week, is it okay to start with something extreme?
GEOFF OGILVY: This is a perfect place to start. I think the fairways, it's quite easy to hit a lot of fairways.
Next week is a really awkward start, because you feel sorry for those guys, because if that's where you start -- I've started there five or six times. It's really hard to hit fairways there. You're hitting it out of the rough for a week, and it's just not that much fun.
Whenever I come to Sony after here, you're hitting it off the fairway and you're used to playing in the wind. It's a great place to start, I think. It's so good and different everything else we play. After Florida, you probably play the same golf course 120 times in a row. But to play such an extremely different setup, it's a cool place to start.

Q. If you play here and go to Sony, the fairways don't look like sidewalks to you over there?
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, they look really small. But you've played in the wind for the week and you've knocked off the rust and you've played on bermuda for a week, and you've probably got confidence because you've hit a lot of fairways and greens. Even if you don't hit it well here, you hit a lot of fairways and greens, and you slash it down to 17 and 18, and have a bit of fun. Whenever I've gone to Sony after this, I've done okay, but if I go to Sony without this, I miss the cut. It's easier after you've been here, for sure.

Q. You going to Sony next week?
GEOFF OGILVY: Yes. (Laughter).

Q. Looking at your card, your iron play seemed to be good; was that the key?
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, I did hit my irons really well. There's such a difference between downhill and downwind and uphill and into the wind; and it's either one or the other here. You're hitting 8-iron from 120 yards on the 7th hole, and on 10, you're hitting 6-iron from 110.
And both of them are going right, my little dinky ones into the wind were going well and my smashes downwind were going well, so very happy with it.

Q. The latter half of last year, Tiger being out, the stuff with the economy and contracting schedules, a lot of bad news; did you sense that people are excited to be here and turn the page and just kick off the year in this great setting?
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, so far, we have been relatively immune. A lot of industries are really gone for and in trouble the last three months. We have been bulletproof to this point, but who knows what's going on after 2009. But we seem quite safe here. I think most of the guys out here feel fairly fortunate that we are playing golf and not working in a bank. It's doing quite well this year.
And I think whenever you see -- I'm sure everybody has lost money, all the time they have been sitting there watching it dwindle and losing money in the market. Everybody is happy to come back to work and start making money and have it go up instead of down again.
I think everyone out here appreciates that we play golf and how lucky we are at the moment.

Q. Have you been trying to avoid Ernie and Trevor so they don't bring up the cricket?
GEOFF OGILVY: No, I've seen Ernie and Trevor and they didn't rub it in at all, which they should have done.
This year, the cricket has not been as competitive really as the last five or six years. And this year, I was home for most of it. I listened to the last game on Tuesday night on the radio, and they have not rubbed it in at all, which is nice.

Q. I hate to go fashion on you here, but I've not seen spikes like that before.
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, they are pretty fancy.

Q. I didn't say they were fancy. I said I had not seen them before.
GEOFF OGILVY: They are Smart Quills.

Q. Are these the old-new or the new-new?
GEOFF OGILVY: These are the new-new. Each shoe is right- and left-shoe specific. Each little quill is scientifically engineered to allow to give it some foot and traction in the other direction, you know what I mean? Does that make sense?

Q. Yes. What will it do to the greens at Pebble if you were to play?
GEOFF OGILVY: Well, all of the testing is that it's less damaging than most of the spikes out there, or soles. But there are some that make less damage than this and some that make more. It's definitely on the good end. They do look bad, but it's spread amongst so many different things that it kind of takes it. When I first tried them, some prototypes, they were doing some damage, but they have got it all pretty sorted out.

Q. Are you playing Pebble?
GEOFF OGILVY: No, not at this point. You never know.

DOUG MILNE: No bogeys to recount. If you can just run us through your birdies and the distances.
GEOFF OGILVY: I birdied the second. 5-iron to 28 feet.
5, I hit driver and 3-iron to 30 feet, something like that, and 2-putted.
The ninth hole, I hit driver, 3-wood left of the scoreboard and got a drop and was right next to the green pretty much and got it up-and-down. Made hit that four feet, 3.8.
10, I hit an 8-iron there from about 100 yards. I thought I told you I hit 6 before, but I actually hit 8. That was about 12 feet.
12, I hit the ball, drove it in the right rough, which is a good spot, avoid the bunker and hit it to 50 yards from the green and hit it to eight or nine feet and made it.
14, driver up short of the green, good drive, didn't hit a good pitch shot from where it was and I was ten yards in front of the green and I probably hit it to 8.3 feet and made it. .
Parred the last four holes, obviously with a good up-and-down on the last for par.

Q. Did you only need to save two pars up-and-down twice?
GEOFF OGILVY: The one on 18 was obviously a sneaky one, and that's the only green that I can remember missing.

Q. Were you in the fringe on 11?
GEOFF OGILVY: I was in the fringe on 11, but that was 20 feet.

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