PGA Tour: Where Is Geoff Ogilvy?

Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2008

Heading into last week’s British Open, Geoff Ogilvy was considered one of the field’s top contenders.

Ogilvy shot a 77 and 74 and missed the cut at Royal Birkdale.

Albeit, he was one of those with an early tee time on Thursday, but many other players also played through that atrocious weather and made the cut.

Ogilvy entered the British Open as the third ranked player in the world; he has since dropped to sixth.

Proceeding his win at the 2006 US Open, Ogilvy has been one of the top few names in the ongoing conversation about players that might be able to step up and challenge Tiger Woods.

As far as physical talent, Ogilvy is as good as anyone on tour.  He had a stretch this year during the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he finished 14th, the WGC-CA Championship where he held off Tiger Woods to win, and the Shell Houston Open where he finished second, where he played near flawless golf.  Ogilvy also had a fine showing at the US Open, finishing ninth.

Even more important than his physical talent is his laid back, relaxed attitude toward competition, which is one of the main reasons why his name consistently enters that conversation about players that have at least a chance to challenge Woods.

But, Ogilvy might have become a little too laid back over the past month opting not to play in a single tournament between the US Open and the British Open, and admitting that he did not even practice very often during this layoff. 

In fact, he spent most of his time between the US Open and British Open vacationing in and around the San Diego area. 

Now, I am not one to lecture someone about vacationing or not practicing enough. Geoff Ogilvy is a grown man and is one of the top golfers in the world, a position that clearly takes a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication to achieve.  

I also do not pretend to know anything about Ogilvy’s personal life. 

I know that he has a young family and there is obviously nothing wrong with wanting to relax and spend time with your family; he has worked hard and earned enough money to have the luxury of making that decision.

I also don’t pretend to know Geoff Ogilvy’s goals; possibly his goal is to make enough money as to allow him to spend as much time as he’d like with his family; which there is absolutely nothing wrong with, in fact I find myself thinking that I might have a similar goal if I were in his position.

But, it is somewhat unusual that Ogilvy took an entire month off between the US and British Open during a season where he was really on the brink of breaking through and moving into that class of truly elite golfers on tour.

In a day and age where a player's daily schedule at a tournament will include working out, hitting the driving range, playing their round of golf, going back to the driving range and then hitting the gym again before calling it a day as well as spending most of their waking hours away from tournament play practicing and training; taking a month to sit on the beach is just not going to cut it anymore.

At the very start of the 2008 season, Ogilvy entered his first tournament having taken a long break from golf due to the birth of his child, again, a very legitimate excuse.

But, Ogilvy proceeded to miss the cut in his first three tournaments of the year.

It then took Ogilvy two further tournaments of average play to get back to the top form we saw from him at the Arnold Palmer, WGC-CA Championship and the Shell Houston Open.

At 31 years old, Ogilvy is still quite young, he has a young family and he has only recently stepped into the limelight that comes along with being one of the world’s top golfers, but he is also entering the prime of his career.

With Mickelson approaching 40 years old, Vijay Sing and Jim Furyk arguably past their primes, Ogilvy along with a very small handful of other players has a legitimate chance to challenge Woods, or at least gain a place as a perennial winner on the PGA Tour possibly racking up a few more majors before his prime passes him by. 

To achieve this, Ogilvy will need to due a better job balancing his personal and professional life and a better job preparing for tournaments. 

Players such as Woods and Mickelson take significant amounts of time off but they also spend significant amounts of time working on their games and preparing for majors. 

You will rarely, if ever see the likes of Woods and Mickelson vacation for a month before showing up to a major.

In fact, Woods laid off for a month before the 2006 US Open due to the death of his father and not even Tiger Woods was able to overcome a layoff of that magnitude as he missed the cut at the '06 Open.

Ogilvy has an excellent chance to really step up and be a consistent competitor week in and week out and possibly challenge Tiger Woods from time to time.

Ogilvy also has a very realistic chance of winning a few more majors during the course of his career.

But, if it is indeed Ogilvy’s goal to move into that class of truly elite golfers on tour, he must re-evaluate his approach to the game and his intensity in preparing for tournaments. 

Ogilvy is entering the prime of his career and is very close to the top of the mountain—vacationing for a month before a major championship is certainly not going to help his chances of reaching the top of that mountain.


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