Shark herds Ogilvy, Scott into calmer waters
Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday December 3, 2009
GREG NORMAN aside, as he's 54 and very much a part-time golfer these days, Australia's two highest-profile players are Geoff Ogilvy and Adam Scott. They are the poster boys for the $1.5 million Australian Open, with the splendid ocean views at NSW Golf Club in the background.A couple of years ago, the pair were swapping the world No.3 ranking every other week, albeit a couple of holes behind Tigers Woods and a hole adrift of Phil Mickelson.Then they slipped marginally. Ogilvy put things right with a couple of wins early this year, indeed found himself back in the No.3 spot. But Scott's slippery dip through this year continued to the point where he became embarrassed by his golf.With those two early wins - in the PGA Tour's season-opening Mercedes Championship for 2008 winners only and the WGC Matchplay title - Ogilvy was entitled to believe it would be a vintage year. It didn't quite work that way.Candidly, he described his play at the US Open in June as rubbish. He got down on himself but said: "I continued to stroke my ego, if you like, as opposed to cutting myself down in my own head, [but] your confidence just slowly disappears when you tell yourself you're hopeless."And Scott? Well, his year is well catalogued. A succession of missed cuts, the final shame of which was rounds of 82-79 in the US PGA Championship at Hazeltine in August.Enter the Shark in his role as captain of the Internationals in the Presidents Cup. He plucked Scott from the wilderness as a captain's choice, and it was that cup series which jolted Ogilvy into action again.Working backwards, Ogilvy's past three starts were tied fourth in the Dubai World Championship, tied 32nd in the Australian Masters and tied 10th in the WGC HSBC Champions in Shanghai.Scott's three tournaments since The Presidents Cup have been tied third in the Singapore Open, tied sixth in the Masters and tied seventh in Dubai. Should he give Norman a sling from his winnings for the inspiration provided by his selection for the Presidents Cup? "I don't think he's struggling for a little bit of cash. If he needs it then I'll see what I can do," Scott replied jokingly.But Scott does thank Norman for his vote of confidence in selecting him, a decision ridiculed in many quarters. "As soon as you walk on the first tee of the Presidents Cup, you're in an atmosphere that I hadn't been in for probably eight months," Scott said. "So that sparked me up, absolutely."Ogilvy said: "My turnaround probably was at the Presidents Cup ... light bulbs didn't go off but there were a couple of things which clicked into my head that made me feel better."When you start playing badly, you don't want to play next week and you get tired. I don't want to sound cheesy but golf is enjoyable when you're playing like you know you can play."Neither Scott nor Ogilvy has played a tournament at the La Perouse layout. A southerly blew again yesterday, far gentler than on the previous two days, and now the forecast is for a wind switch from the north-east today.Ogilvy gave an example of just how that will affect club selection. On the 403-metre par-four 16th, he hit driver, two iron yesterday into the southerly. Today, if the wind reverses, it will be two iron, eight iron.Ogilvy, the reigning Australian PGA champion, has not won his national Open, nor has Scott. Indeed, the latter is yet to win on home soil, a glaring omission in his CV.Obviously, both would love to lay their hands on the Stonehaven Cup come late Sunday afternoon. Aaron Baddeley, twice Open champion, saw it on display at the tournament cocktail party on Tuesday night and became all starry-eyed. "It gives you confidence knowing your name is already on the trophy twice," he said.