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January 11, 2009

Geoff Ogilvy


DOUG MILNE: We would like to welcome 2009 Mercedes-Benz Championship winner Geoff Ogilvy to the interview room. Very solid performance all week long and picking up your first 500 FedExCup points for the year.
Just your thoughts on being in the lead and being done.
GEOFF OGILVY: I enjoyed the last 2 1/2 hours more than I enjoyed the first two hours today. Obviously a very rough start. I had never had a six-shot lead before. That's quite an uncomfortable feeling really. It was tricky on the front nine and I wasn't playing horribly. I just had a couple of loose shots and a couple of putts that I thought were pretty decent and didn't go in, which is the sort of thing that happens when you're leading, I guess.
But the two best shots of the week down the ninth hole, made my best putt and probably my best back nine of the week. So definitely a round of two halves. Pretty poor first eight holes, and great last ten holes, and I really enjoyed it. Once I got through nine, I really enjoyed every hole on the back nine. I all of a sudden felt like -- felt a lot better about everything, and played really well the last nine holes.

Q. Can you just take us through the ninth hole?
GEOFF OGILVY: 2-iron, 3-iron, 23 feet.

Q. 20 feet, nine inches.
GEOFF OGILVY: There you go. It's on, the last two days, usually it's smash driver and smash 3-wood and hope you get it on the front bank there, really. But I hit 2-iron off the tee and it was perfect. It went down, but ended up on a little flat spot, so it was in a perfect spot and the best 3-iron of the week.

Q. How far was your yardage?
GEOFF OGILVY: 230 maybe.

Q. If you say so.
GEOFF OGILVY: Something like that. I can't remember exactly. Scoring will tell you.
It was like 220 over the bunker and another ten. It was like 218 to the front, but to carry the bunker, it was 220 and ten, 230 maybe.

Q. At that point were you feeling maybe that had to be a birdie hole for you?
GEOFF OGILVY: I want to make birdie, yeah. I was fairly frustrated walking off the eighth green. Not angry, just frustrated. Is there a difference between angry and frustrated (laughter)?
Frustrated because I had a horrible tee shot on the first, I just had to lay up and that was a bogey. The second, I hit a bad tee shot, but it was a 3-iron, so you don't hit every green with a 3-iron. And I hit a good bunker shot and thought I was a foot from the hole and I missed. The putt I hit on the 8th, a foot from the hole I thought, and it missed.
So I was two shots worse than I thought I should have been, so just frustrated me a lot because I just had a couple of birdies to get back to level for the day and to bogey a couple of holes in a row -- yeah, I wanted to birdie 9. To eagle it was a big bonus.
All of a sudden, even after -- as soon as I hit my second shot at 9, I felt completely comfortable and happy with everything. I knew most of my lead was gone, I didn't work out it was down to one shot until we got to the green because that was the only board we saw for a while.
As I said, it's a day of two halves. Frustration for the first eight holes, and back to how it had been the rest of the week the last ten holes. Just wasn't really -- wasn't the second shot on 9 that did it, but it's almost seeing a one-shot lead to a six-shot lead, I'm more comfortable, I don't know.

Q. Is there any part of you, not experiencing this size of a lead, and it was yours to win, was it a feeling of basically like you were blowing it and how much did it settle you?
GEOFF OGILVY: It's an uncomfortable feeling, definitely, to know your six shots out in front and know you're almost back to tied. That's not very comfortable because you can just imagine what people are thinking and what's going on.
Yeah, it's not a very nice feeling to feel you're frittering away your lead with weak shots and bad shots. If somebody is birdieing every hole to catch you, then that's a completely different story. But I had only made one bogey for the week and I made four on the front nine this morning. There was something I was not doing the same thing on the first eight holes as I had been all week for some reason.

Q. Had you ever felt a switch like that, from being loose a little bit to being flawless for the back nine?
GEOFF OGILVY: It happens. I've hit quite a lot, actually. I don't know why. So it's not really the shot on 9. It was just getting up to 9. I always like the -- I like the stretch 9 through 15 for scoring. It just feels like you can make birdie on every hole. It's like all of a sudden they are normal golf holes, not way uphill or downhill. I just like that section of the course. Coming up the hill on 9, I just felt good getting near the green on 9 for some reason.
I don't know, I've had switches go like that. Quite a lot, actually. Not on purpose, I just all of a sudden feel different.

Q. When your lead goes from six shots to one shot, you said it the first time, what goes through it -- is it an, oh, no, what am I doing? Is it panic? Did you remain patient? Take us through your thought process.
GEOFF OGILVY: I think I was quite patient. There's not much that you can do at that point. I felt like I hit a great putt on the second that missed and made bogey. And I felt like I made a great putt on the 8th and that didn't go in either. I didn't feel like I was playing horribly. On 7, that was just the wrong club, and I should have hit more, and I didn't like my tee shot on the first. But you're going to do that. You can't go all week without hitting into spots like that.
I wouldn't say it was panic. It's just not a very nice feeling. I don't know (laughter). I don't know how I would describe it. Uncomfortable is how I would describe it. No panic or what am I doing, but just, can I go somewhere else for a while, because it's just uncomfortable (laughter).

Q. How does this feel?
GEOFF OGILVY: Pretty good.
Since I walked off the ninth green, I felt actually the best I did all week. All of a sudden, like you said, a switch flicked. I feel decent.
I've obviously -- not obviously, no one really knows probably because no one really pays attention, but I've been a horrible starter generally on TOUR. I missed my first three cuts last year. I've never played any good here when I've come. I've played great at the end of the West Coast. That last week of the West Coast has been great to me, but until then, I really don't even know if I've had a Top-10, but for the last weeks of the West Coast Swing. So a rough start.
So to actually win the first week, what am I saying, that's a dream start to the year. I knew I was playing well, so it's nice to have one up early and now I can set about getting more.

Q. Did you hit it this well in Australia?
GEOFF OGILVY: I hit it for periods, not for the whole week. I hit the ball great this week, apart from about four shots on the front nine this morning. I hit it -- the last two days at the Australian -- the last three days of the Australian PGA I played great, and the first few days, I didn't play well. But the weekends, I played really well. So I had periods of really good ball-striking in Australia, but not the whole week like I did here.

Q. When you won at La Costa in The Match Play, you talked about how, until then, you had always talked to yourself negatively, and how the people and the writers in Australia had put you down. I just wonder, after that, are you a different golfer? You've gone on to win a U.S. Open. Do you feel like the future is unlimited now?
GEOFF OGILVY: Well, if I play like this every week, I feel pretty good about it. I'm realistic enough to know weeks like this don't come along very often; hopefully more often in the future than they have done in the past.
I feel like I'm a pretty good player. The last, probably since about La Costa, I felt like I've been one of the guys who can consider himself a chance coming into big golf tournaments. I've tended to play decent at the bigger ones.
All the time learning about how to be more positive and not so negative. I still throw out the negative comment here and there, but there's a lot more positive stuff than there used to be. The more you see the benefits from doing that sort of stuff, the more you want to do it.

Q. Do you think the other players look at you differently now?
GEOFF OGILVY: I don't know how they look at me, actually.

Q. Just wondering, this guy is a winner, this guy won a major, and he can beat us any time.
GEOFF OGILVY: Hopefully (laughter).
I feel they look at me like I'm a good player, in the Top 15 guys out here, probably. I feel like a pretty good player.
It's obviously nice for other players to respect the way you play, because maybe it makes them harder to beat you, you know. But really you'd have to poll them to see what they think. I don't know.

Q. Was there a point where you won Tucson, the stroke-play, Tucson, where you thought you had not achieved what you should have achieved at that point on this TOUR?
GEOFF OGILVY: I was feeling a little, frustrated (laughter).

Q. Angry?
GEOFF OGILVY: Not angry (laughter). Yeah, I felt like I was underachieving, but not winning; I just had not played very well to that point as a pro, really. I had good weeks here and there, but I knew I was capable of playing a lot better than I was playing at that point before then. And I played great that week. That's the best I had played to that point, so to win that tournament was really nice.
From then on, it's just been -- I've just gradually got more and more consistent and just a better player. But to that point, I think I had been treading water for a fair while, playing okay, but not getting out of it what I should. It was probably the bad attitude and negative stuff that held me back more than anything physical.

Q. And I wanted to ask you what the difference is in the level where you've been at, which is winning significant tournaments one a year, to the level where Tiger and Phil and Vijay have been, of winning, if not a major, multiple times a year, and being seen quite frequently on the leaderboard. How big is the gap there?
GEOFF OGILVY: I think I'm getting closer to that sort of point. I struggled for a while -- I didn't play great in '07, but last year, I had a period there from about the start of Florida to the U.S. Open where I felt like if I had made a few more, I could have won three or four early. I won one, but I felt like I was there or thereabouts, and then it dropped off, which those top players don't tend to do. Vijay and Tiger, especially, have been on leaderboards for the last ten years.
I feel like I'm closer to that stage now, but there's still probably a gap there. But more a consistency thing rather than -- because if I played like this every week, I'd be all right, and obviously work out how to do it a bit more often. I think it's coming. I think I could get to that sort of stage. Golf's a weird game.

Q. Is it a question of believing in yourself? Do you have to say, "I can do it," or do you wonder, say, five years ago, whether you could do it?
GEOFF OGILVY: I never wondered whether I could, because I knew I could. I guess there was probably a lot of interference running in my head at that point, so the message didn't really get through maybe.
Belief is pretty important. The guy out here with the most belief is Tiger, I assume. And then probably -- it probably almost mirrors the Money List almost. Belief is important and belief is being positive, but belief is also doing good things. You can't just make yourself believe, because it goes both ways. You've got to pump yourself up, but you've also got to get the runs on the board.
Belief is probably the most important thing. Guys like Anthony, they come out, come straight out of college believing they are the best player out here, and straightaway, they are. Whereas traditionally, it's taken a while to build up that sort of belief. So pretty important.

Q. At Doral, you closed the deal in the final round against a stellar field. How do you compare the satisfaction of that win to today where you had to handle the crisis of confidence early on?
GEOFF OGILVY: That was satisfying because it was such a -- it's obviously a great field because it's the Top-50 in the world and a bunch of others, and they are all there, the ones who should have been. Tiger won about ten tournaments in a row and he was up there and Vijay was right there, and Scotty was right there and a few others, I'm sure. Everyone was there.
So that was really satisfying to kind of hang on. It was an awkward week because we were on and off the course and it was an early Monday finish, and they are always kind of weird.
My son was sick all week and he was in the hospital, and so it was just -- that was satisfying from a -- if we are going to have such a long week and tiring week, I was so glad to just get to the end and win.
This one is probably more satisfying from a golf perspective because I did have a pretty -- I wasn't feeling super about myself after the eighth hole, anyway. But then, yeah, to actually go away -- I've watched lots of people go away and win tournaments and just keep going and going and going. It looked like quite a lot of fun, actually. So I'll look back on that and be pretty proud of the last ten holes I played today.

Q. Coming back on the psychological side here, the mental side, is there somebody you've been working with on this?
GEOFF OGILVY: Not specifically. I think I've talked to numbers of guys in quite a long time. I haven't talked to anyone specific in a while. I see it's quite -- no, I don't work with anyone specific. I just work on it myself, to be honest with you. I read books and all that sort of stuff. It's quite simple really. Hard to do, but quite simple. Just be nice to yourself, really (laughter).

Q. The future of this tournament after next year, as far as it being here, wherever it might be, is kind of up in the air; would you vote for keeping it here?
GEOFF OGILVY: Right now, yeah. (Laughter).
I mean, look, I said it out there, it's an unbelievably good hotel. It's a great place to come the first week of January. The course is perfect. Family loves it. Everyone loves it. Everyone comes out of the cold weather and comes here. I think for me at this point, I think it's a fantastic thing.
Obviously the tournament would love some of the bigger guys to play, but I don't know if -- I don't think they would go regardless of -- they don't have any issue of getting on their own plane and going anywhere they want to go. So I don't think it's a matter of location why some of those guys might not play. I just think they don't want to play the first week of January.
Fantastic. I love coming here.

Q. Are you going to invest in a razor at Oahu?
GEOFF OGILVY: I might do, actually. Once I started playing well, you cannot shave after that. It's like taking your sweater off when you're playing well. Even if it's hot, you leave it on if you're playing well.
I could shave tomorrow, maybe, we'll see. I probably should. It's getting a little unruly.

Q. Some major champions, they feel they have to swing like one or be like one; did you ever face that temptation or feelings at all?
GEOFF OGILVY: Not on the course, no. Off the course, I had a period the next sort of 12 months of not meeting my expectations and getting a bit frustrated. "Frustration," there's that word again, not angry (laughter).
It's a weird feeling. I mean, you should be more relaxed on the golf course, because what does it matter? I've just won the U.S. Open, I can miss the cut this week, or I don't have to win this week. But there's part of you that does try to live up to what you've done.
It tears you both ways. There's definitely a weird period there. But six to 12 months later, probably after Oakmont, I probably settled down and that whole feeling went away.

Q. The last ten years, you've come from eking out a living on The European Tour and sharing a room or whatever, and now you're making unbelievable amounts of money, you're dining at the White House and you're meeting famous actresses (laughter). Do you ever pinch yourself and say this life is unbelievable (guffaws of laughter)?
GEOFF OGILVY: It's been pretty good, yeah. This week is unbelievable for the celebrities that come through this place. Every player who is here sitting around the pool seeing who they can spot around that pool. I'm surprised there isn't paparazzi floating around everywhere. It's that unbelievable, the pool down there at the Ritz Carlton.
We are so lucky we play for the money that we do. It's silly, really. And it's a completely absurd lifestyle we live, like you say. Families that come out and hang out in the middle of the Pacific for the winter and play for a million dollars, it's absurd. The thankful part for me is that I'm thankful I'm pretty good at something that people want to watch and people want to put money up for. I mean, there's 20 guys a year now who make more than Arnie did in his whole career, every year, and that's just ridiculous. It's just timing, our generation's timing is impeccable.

Q. The TOUR has been running some commercials this week, kind of blending the generations, pictures of Sergio or Anthony and whatever and the Tigers and Phils and Furyks coming face-to-face. Where are you in that generation?
GEOFF OGILVY: Not -- I'm in the middle. I'm Tiger's age, really. I'm a year and a half, 18 months younger than Tiger.
I played some amateur tournaments that he played, Western Amateur and U.S. Am. But Sergio has been around the same amount of time as Tiger, really, probably when he was about 12 (laughter) Tiger had only been a pro a year or so when Sergio turned pro.

Q. Sergio came here at the PGA at Medinah.
GEOFF OGILVY: I don't know, Tiger and Phil are Tiger and Phil, and Vijay, and those young guys, they really are -- Sergio is not super-young, but Anthony is. What's Camilo, 26? 27? That's pretty young. I'm in the background (laughter).

Q. Who gets the car, is it yours or has somebody else made claim to it?
GEOFF OGILVY: That will be up for negotiation, we'll see. That's a pretty sweet car. I actually had one very similar. Probably me, but we might be sharing it amongst the family.

Q. What was the club on 12?
GEOFF OGILVY: The club on 12 was 9-iron.

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