Geoff Ogilvy finished second to Michael Thompson in the Honda Classic. Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open champion, advanced from 79th in the world ranking to 47th, which gets him into this week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral in Miami. If he remains in the top 50 up to the Masters, he’ll be in the season’s first major at a course he understands and enjoys studying – he’s played the last seven Masters and his best finish was a T-4 in 2011. I, like many others, think Ogilvy, a 35-year-old Australian, is one of the game’s most thoughtful golfers. It’s always a pleasure to hear what he has to say about the game, particularly course architecture. With Michael Clayton, he is part of the Australian design firm Ogilvy Clayton . If you’re interested in architecture, you will enjoy spending some time at the website. Meanwhile, I’ve assembled some of what Ogilvy has said about design in various interviews over the years. Here’s a small collection.
March 10, 2001, Honda Classic, TPC at Heron Bay, Coral Springs, Fla . (a course most PGA Tour players did not like. Ogilvy saw something different in the course that Mark McCumber designed for the high winds that often occur in South Florida in March) [This is] a different kind of fun. The grueling wind, bouncing greens, having a lot of low shots can be fun.
Oct. 5, 2002, Michelob Championship at Kingsmill, Williamsburg, VA .: I don’t mean to sell Kingsmill short, but most golf courses on this tour are pretty similar really, in the setup anyway. The sand is pretty similar, the rough is generally similar, the greens are all the same speed. It’s really just the same yardage in a different state, not because of the course but the way they set it up.
May 8, 2004, Wachovia Championship, Quail Hollow, Charlotte, NC.: It’s one of the best that we play. It’s a fantastic course. You go out for a walk and enjoy it. It’s just a nice place to walk around, even if there were no golf holes on it. The greens are fantastic. It’s just a nice place. It’s long, but it’s not crazy long for me. I guess some guys are struggling with the length. Nice par 3s and nice par 5s, everything about it, it’s just a nice place, good holes, it’s not overbunkered, it’s not overwatered, the greens aren’t too big. Everything that sometimes can make these new courses not so good, this one does it all perfectly.
Aug. 14, 2005, PGA Championship, Baltusrol, Springfield, NJ.: It’s not a putting contest. It’s a contest from tee to green and everything is tested today equally. A regular tournament when the greens are soft, guys are shooting 25 under par and it’s really whoever putts best wins. Here it’s the whole package and I get more fired up and enjoy that sort of golf more. I seem to keep my head more when I make a bogey and don’t lose it as much as I do in a normal week.
March 8, 2006, Honda Classic, Country Club at Mirasol, Palm Beach Gardens: It’s a golf course I think that tests every part of the game. I mean, when everyone turned up here, I don’t think it was everyone’s favorite golf course at first but I think it’s grown on people, because you have to hit the ball well, you have to chip well and you have to putt well and you have to use your brain.
There’s a lot of golf courses that we play that it really doesn’t matter what you do the first two shots on the hole. It’s really the second two shots that matter, the third and the fourth shot, because the greens will be soft and you can hit the green from anywhere out of the rough and just swing away and go at it and not really use your brain too much.
Here you have to hit some solid shots, and if you can’t hold shots into the wind, you can’t get on the green, and you have to be able to move it both ways and you have to be a good chipper around here. Not that I’m great at any of that, I just think my game, I’m okay at everything. I don’t think I have anything really, really great, and I don’t think I have anything really, really bad and I think that’s what this course asks for.
June 16, 2006, U.S. Open, Winged Foot, Mamaroneck, NY . (after first round): For some reason, I seem to handle adversity better in a major. I seem to have been, anyway. If I’m 2 over after 5 in a regular Tour event, I’m probably not the most cheerful guy in the world, but I was quite fine today. I was not stressing at all because that’s kind of what you do.