Quietly Capable, Geoff Ogilvy is happy to leave the hype for others

Quietly Capable, Geoff Ogilvy is happy to leave the hype for others

Geoff Ogilvy won the limited-field season opener in Hawaii, but is he on his way to more major victories in 2009?
Robert Beck/SI

Geoff Ogilvy can make golf look so effortless that it’s easy to wonder if he’s trying. But don’t mention that to his colleagues. “What, you think he has another gear we haven’t seen yet?” asks Adam Scott, his voice rising with incredulity. “The guy has won a U.S. Open and two World Golf Championships. I need a gear like that!”

Ogilvy may be the most underrated player in golf, but his colleagues know how much game he has. “You look at his hands on the club, and you can see how talented he is,” says Scott. “His touch, his feel — it’s amazing.”

Ogilvy’s short-game prowess will always be defined by his heroics down the stretch during the final round of the 2006 U.S. Open. While everyone else was losing his mind at Winged Foot, Ogilvy saved par on the final three holes. His wedge play was just as dazzling at this Mercedes during his dominant, wire-to-wire victory. But Ogilvy, 31, is no dinker: He overpowered the Plantation course with long, precise drives and a beautifully controlled iron game. Over the first 54 holes he went 19 under while making only one bogey to build a commanding six-stroke lead. On Sunday’s front nine Ogilvy got a little messy, and a corresponding birdie binge by Anthony Kim sliced the lead to a lone stroke, but Ogilvy barely seemed to notice, let alone fret. He eagled the 9th and followed with five birdies on the next six holes, ultimately cruising to a six-stroke victory.

Coming in to the new year, all the hype has centered on young would-be Tiger — challengers
Anthony Kim, Camilo Villegas and Sergio Garcia, but Ogilvy, who is sixth in the World Ranking,
has a better resume than any of them. “They are younger than me and have had some good runs — they’re allowed to be the talk of the Tour,” says Ogilvy, who possesses one of golf’s liveliest minds but zero superstar attitude. “I don’t feel as if I’ve missed out at all. In fact, the less I have to talk about that stuff, the better. So you can keep talking about those guys, if you want.”

Suddenly, there is a more interesting topic. Until something changes, Ogilvy is our early favorite
to take the Masters.