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Rob Lee's Blog : Geoff Ogilvy's Tour de Force Performance

Imagine Golf Club's Rob Lee discusses Tiger, Ogilvy and tough greens in Bali

Posted Mar 03, 2009 by Rob Lee

geoff ogilvy

It seems odd to focus on somebody that bowed out of the Accenture Matchplay on day 2 before talking about the winner but this is no ordinary person.  The world of golf heaved a collective sigh of relief when the great one stepped onto the tee just after midday Tucson time last Wednesday, unaided and completely under his own steam.  The knee it seemed looked fine.  Then it was time for Tiger to hit his first shot in anger since the 91st hole at the US open last June.  His 3 wood, thank god he doesn't call it a 3 metal (by the way, anyone using the term 3 metal must be immediately discredited), found the right side of the fairway and his approach hit to 5 feet, the birdie followed and Brendan Jones knew it was going to be a tough day.  That was confirmed on the par 5 2nd where Woods struck a 1 metal (pathetic) from the tee and flushed a 4 iron to 6 feet.  He didn't have to hole the putt but mentally we all gave it to him.  2 up.  In the end the fireworks gave way to some rust and after winning round one he was beaten on day 2 by Tim Clarke on the 15th.  Anyway, the point is the Tiger machine is back and will give full validity to any WGC wins and of course major victories with him in the field.  It is going to be interesting to see how the much sought-after high viewing figures return after TV companies and sponsors have been talking about 50% downturns in interest in the minus-Woods months, can one man really have that dramatic an effect especially in these sub prime times.  I would suggest that in times where there is no good news around that even a single digit upturn will be seen as us having turned the corner.  How much can one man handle?  If anyone can, Tiger can.

                   So what about the tournament itself, well the Dove Mountain resort looked amazing on television especially in HD on Sky.  Jack Nicklaus designed the golf course and built 18 rollercoaster greens, which are not to everyone’s taste, with shots into the greens eventually coming to rest in the low points on the putting surfaces of which there were plenty but the test is: did it produce a worthy winner?  The answer is an emphatic yes as Geoff Ogilvy showed us what a tremendous player he is with a tour de force performance in the final where he just flat out out-played Paul Casey.  Every time Casey seemed to make his move, Ogilvy responded with interest in the most modest, laid-back way.  Fist pumping and gnashing of teeth are not his currency but don't let the could-care-less appearance fool you into believing he is lacking in drive.  Any man who has accumulated a US Open and now 3 WGCs is among the best in the world and next week he defends his CA Championship at Doral which, by the way, Tiger will be playing.  It all makes for a fascinating dynamic which should build to a terrific weekend in Florida.  In the 3rd/4th place play off Stuart Cink beat Ross Fisher (‘who?’ the Americans were saying) by holing a bunker shot on the last to win one-up.  It was a good week for the improving Fisher who, if he keeps going, will let the American public know who he is in the tournaments to come.  A sad note on the week was that Luke Donald withdrew due to a wrist injury.  Let's hope it is nothing serious and just a tweak after he has also just come back after a lengthy time away.

                     Sometimes on the European tour when there is a WGC or Major then another tournament is held in the same week.  This week was one of those weeks where those not eligible to play in the US turned up in Indonesia, to Bali to be exact, on the New Kuta Golf Course.   A cliff top course with some proper incentives to hit the ball where you could still see it otherwise it was almost certainly lost in some lush, knee high, clawing vegetation.  The breezy conditions certainly played its part in tempering the scoring but not as much as the very grainy greens.  For grain you see can be the great leveller, you end up saying things to yourself before you putt like “whatever you do, make sure you reach the hole”.  That's usually into the grain where it is so slow and what always happens is you come up short, comfortably.  Now the only way to reach the target in these situations is through an involuntary muscle spasm at impact, usually furnished by the right hand and never welcome - better to be short.  The other most common lament is in a cross grain situation is where the slope is right to left with the grass growing the other way and you have to guess which way the ball will go, very frustrating when gravity loses easily to the strength of the grass.  Not surprising then that Thongchai Jaidee won for the third time on the European tour, all three wins coming in Asia on really grainy greens.  The Thai paratrooper is a fine player and must surely translate his game to European conditions in the future to prove his adaptability.  The same of course applies to Europeans plying their trade in the Far East.  Runners-up were two Englishmen and a Swede.  Steve Webster had his best finish of the season along with Simon Dyson who won this title a few seasons back and is a bit of a specialist out there (former Asian No.1).  Alongside them was Alex Noren who is destined to win this year.  Coached by Pete Cowen and looking very much like a more powerful Ben Hogan, he has the game to go right to the top and when the warm putting week comes along, so will the winner’s cheque.

                    There is no event on the European Tour this week but plenty to look forward to the week after; Tiger, Sergio, Geoff and the boys. 

- Robert Lee


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