AUGUSTA, Ga. — Phil Mickelson grabbed headlines
before the Masters. Peter Uihlein, the U.S. Amateur champion and son of
the CEO of Acushnet, got
plenty of attention. But Geoff
Ogilvy, who completed their group Thursday and Friday, quietly
outplayed them both with back-to-back 69s.
Starting Saturday just four shots off the lead, Ogilvy, who loves
Augusta National and grew up playing another Alister MacKenzie course
(Royal Melbourne) looked poised to make a move up the leaderboard.
But the Aussie failed to get anything going on the front nine and shot
a three-over 39. He made birdies on 11 and 12, then another on 15 to
get back to six under for the tournament, but a plugged lie in the
bunker on 18 led to another final bogey.
Ogilvy has won two WGC-Accenture Match Play titles and a WGC-Cadillac
Championship at Doral. But fans have been waiting five years for Ogilvy
to validate his victory at Winged Foot and capture another major.
Fans like the Australian man standing alongside the ropes of the
fifth fairway who didn’t want Ogilvy to get down on himself. He told
his buddies, “We’ve gotta get Geoff going. C’mon boys, ‘Go Geoff’
time.” As the guys in the St. Kilda’s hats (Ogilvy’s favorite
Australian Rules Football club) cheered, Ogilvy nodded their way and
smiled, but kept right on walking by himself up the fairway.
Fans like the dozen German representatives of SchÃ¼co,
one of Ogilvy’s major sponsors, who followed him around Augusta
National in the 85-degree heat, chugging water and beer.
Fans like Ogilvy’s friends and his wife, Juli, who also followed him
again on foot today. When she saw his short par putt on the eighth hole
horseshoe out, it was more than she could take. “Ahh!” she screamed before making an about-face and scurrying down the ninth fairway.
And most of all, Ogilvy himself.
After signing for his card and shaking hands with his playing partner,
Alvaro Quiros, the Aussie immediately went to the driving range. He
wanted nothing to do with the writers or TV crews, just range balls.
He positioned himself on the far right side of the range, away from
everyone except his caddie, Cameron Ferguson, and swing coach, Dale Lynch.
On a day when Angel Cabrera, Bubba Watson and fellow Australian Adam
Scott all shot 67, Ogilvy’s 73 was maddening.
There were very few words spoken as Ogilvy hit one iron shot after
another. No practice swings, no pre-shot routine. Just sweep a ball
over, pause, then hit it. If there had been a heavy bag around, Ogilvy
would’ve tired himself out swinging haymakers.
“It was pretty off-the-charts frustrating, really,” he said after he
finished pasting 7-irons. “I don’t know how you can rate frustration,
but it was really frustrating.”
Ogilvy’s length off the tee, touch with a wedge and syrupy-smooth
putting stroke make him appear well-suited for the majors. He
understands course design and thinks his way around as well as
He’ll start Sunday at five under, seven shots behind Rory McIlroy.
Unless he goes on a tear in the fourth round and gets a little help
from McIlroy, Ogilvy and his fans will have to wait a little longer for his
next major title.