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Wednesday August 17th, 2022 10:14PM

Geoff Ogilvy 'scratching the itch' to play PGA Tour again

By The Associated Press
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Geoff Ogilvy walked into the locker room two weeks ago at the Barracuda Championship and didn’t recognize many faces. He’s pretty sure they didn’t recognize him, either.

“They were probably thinking, ‘Who’s that old guy with the beard and no hair?‘” he said.

That would be a U.S. Open champion at Winged Foot, the winner of three World Golf Championships who once reached as high as No. 3 in the world and then quietly walked away to spend more time in golf course design and promoting youth golf at home in Australia.

And now Ogilvy is back. He’s just not sure for how long, or even where.

“I’m dipping my toes into the ‘playing golf’ ocean,” Ogilvy said upon arriving in Detroit for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

It will be his second PGA Tour event in the last three weeks, which is a lot for the 45-year-old considering his last PGA Tour appearance was four years ago before finding a window to move his family to Melbourne.

Ogilvy never intended to abandon the game entirely. His hope was a limited playing schedule combined with design work with the golf architecture firm OCM. But then the COVID-19 pandemic happened and forced him to change direction.

Getting out of the country wasn’t the issue. It was getting back in.

“I got forced into pivoting to more full-time design and school pickups and drop-offs,” Ogilvy said. The oldest of his three children is Phoebe, who turns 16 in the fall.

“It was nice to spend so much time with them — long periods of time, not a week here and a week there. It was great. But I was getting itchy to play golf. I’d like to be able to play some tournaments. As much as it’s been enjoyable sitting around with the kids and doing design work, it illustrated to me what I am as a golfer.”

OCM is keeping him plenty busy with a renovation plan for Medinah No. 3 ahead of the 2026 Presidents Cup. What led him back to the PGA Tour was a new club Ogilvy, Mike Cocking and Ashley Mead are designing about two hours west of Minneapolis called Tepetonka.

During a site visit in April, he was told to come back in July for the 3M Open on an exemption. He made plans for the Barracuda Championship in Lake Tahoe — the last of his eight PGA Tour titles in 2014 — but the 3M Open exemption never materialized. He instead was given a spot at Detroit Golf Club.

“I miss contention,” Ogilvy said. “I don’t really miss the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday grinding part of the tour. Winning is a bonus, but that’s not really it. It’s the last nine holes. Being in the mix is the addiction. If I can’t do that, I won’t do it for long.”

He has played a dozen or so times in Australia, and his foundation was behind a new event called the Sandbelt Invitational held over four Melbourne courses, for men and women, pros and amateurs. He also took part in the ISPS Handa Vic Open, where men and women compete alongside each other (different tees) for the same prize fund.

Four years can seem like a long time in golf, and Ogilvy dips his toes in the water as college players are diving in. He sounded no less excited.

“There's something about us with golf where ... there's such a strong drive to play better, which never goes away,” he said.

PRESIDENTS CUP

Abraham Ancer of Mexico is still listed at No. 5 in the Presidents Cup standings for the International team. That doesn't mean he'll be at Quail Hollow Cup in September.

The PGA Tour clarified in a memo to its membership that only players eligible to compete in tournaments can be in the Presidents Cup regardless of their status. Ancer signed on with LIV Golf without authorization (the tour doesn't grant releases for North American events, anyway) and has been suspended.

Louis Oosthuizen resigned from the PGA Tour to join LIV and is not in the standings.

On the U.S. side, the leading 12 players have said they are committed to the PGA Tour. Talor Gooch, among the first to sign with LIV, is at No. 13 (and suspended). Jason Kokrak is at No. 15 in the U.S. standings — he will be suspended when he plays the LIV event this week — while Bryson DeChambeau is No. 25.

CASHING IN

Masters champion Scottie Scheffler can start cashing in even without playing before the FedEx Cup playoffs starts.

Scheffler had such a dominant run that he already has clinched the No. 1 seed for the postseason. That means he has secured the $4 million bonus from the Comcast Business Tour 10, a $20 million program for the leading 10 players after the regular season.

And there’s sure to be more.

With two tournaments left in the regular season, Scheffler is leading the Aon Risk Reward Challenge, which all season has tabulated the best scores on risk-reward holes. Scheffler leads British Open champion Cameron Smith, Rory McIlroy and Max Homa.

Homa is playing the Rocket Mortgage Classic and would need a birdie and eagle at Detroit Golf Club, and then another birdie and eagle at the Wyndham Championship, which he is unlikely to play with the postseason to follow.

Scheffler would pick up an additional $1 million from Aon. And then he starts the chase for the $18 million first prize for the FedEx Cup.

SHIPPEN WINNER

Wyatt Worthington II is all about finding opportunities for Black golfers to get in PGA Tour tournaments. He earned his way into two of them.

Worthington, who teaches at The Golf Depot in central Ohio, was among the 20 club professionals to earn a spot in the PGA Championship at Southern Hills. The next appearance is this week in the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and that might be even tougher.

He took part in The John Shippen, a 36-hole event at Detroit Golf Club where the winner earns an exemption into the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Worthington opened with a 73 and felt there was nothing wrong with his game that some better putting wouldn't solve. He made eight birdies for a 65 to win the event.

“I know I wanted to work on my game to get to this point, but actually living this, I can’t really fathom that. Yeah, this is an unreal experience,” Worthington said Tuesday.

But he doesn't consider it to be a one-time experience.

“We have the game to do this,” said Worthington, who competes on the Advocated Professional Golf Association circuit when he's not giving lessons or caddying to make money on the side. “It’s just getting an opportunity to do this at the highest level, that’s really what’s been the toughest part.”

DIVOTS

The Women's World Golf Rankings next week will start a modification in which players from No. 401 through No. 600 in the world will contribute to the strength-of-field formula. The ranking began in 2006 with only the top 200 players accounting for the field strength, and that was expanded to the top 400 players in 2009. ... Tony Finau was the fifth player this year to rally from five shots or more in the final round and win on the PGA Tour. ... Players from 15 countries have won this season on the European tour, 10 of them from European nations.

STAT OF THE WEEK

David Kocher went 57 starts between victories on the Korn Ferry Tour without registering a top-10 finish.

FINAL WORD

“It’s a weird spot to be in to feel like I’ve been knocking on the door to win a major and I haven’t even won my first PGA Tour event.” — Will Zalatoris, who has been a runner-up in three of the last eight majors.

___

More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Golf, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Sports - PGA, AP Sports - Women's Golf
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