27 Nov 2022 | Professional golf |

Ogilvy's hometown hopes for Open

by Australian Golf Media

Geoff Ogilvy RQ image
Geoff Ogilvy shot a brilliant 65 to complete the Australian PGA. Photo: Getty

By Jim Tucker at Royal Queensland

Tour statesman Geoff Ogilvy is excited that the sudden crowd spike for golf will be replicated when the Australian Open returns to Melbourne’s sandbelt for the first time in 20 years. The energy and sheer excitement amongst new fans to golf has been the stunning success outside the fairway ropes at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship. Not even a Sunday afternoon storm could dampen the enthusiasm of the biggest galleries for tournament golf at Royal Queensland since the 1980s. Ogilvy, 45, experienced it first-hand over the four days and gave fans something to cheer when he closed with a vintage six-under-par 65 with six birdies. The 2006 US Open champion will have an influence on making Royal Queensland even better as one of the course architects from the OCM design team for the 10-year plan to refine the host layout for the 2032 Brisbane Olympics. For now, he is energised by how the homecoming of Cameron Smith, Minjee Lee, Adam Scott, Hannah Green, Cam Davis, Min Woo Lee, Marc Leishman and company can convert to a stand-out ISPS HANDA Australian Open, for men and women, from Thursday at Victoria Golf Club and Kingston Heath. “Tradition says Melbourne gets bigger crowds,” Ogilvy said. “The Australian Open is advantaged being the second (tournament) because there’ll be people watching this going, ‘Oh, there’s golf next week, I might go and watch.’ “Having Cam back is obviously going to have a big impact. He’s a major winner and we saw the quite amazing reaction when ‘Scotty’ (Adam Scott) came back (to play in Melbourne) after his Masters win. “It’s a really good field. Kingston Heath is always immaculate and Victoria Golf Club has never been better. It’s going to be a cool week.” Ogilvy also stressed the magnetism of having an Australian Open on Melbourne’s sandbelt for the first time since a cherubic Steve Allan won the 2002 edition at Victoria. “I grew up watching Australian Opens on the Sandbelt; I turn pro and they don’t have one (there). That’s kind of frustrating but to have it back, it’ll be good,” Ogilvy said. Ogilvy was coy about what changes might be coming at Royal Queensland which is hosting the Australian PGA on a multi-year deal and has a worldwide audience locked in for 2032’s Olympic tournament. Renovations will likely range from progressively replacing the blue couch fairways with a different grass that doesn’t encroach into the greens as much to tweaking several holes and tee boxes. Certainly, Royal Queensland tacking on a nine-hole short course on adjacent land on the Brisbane River will be an exciting layout built from scratch. “You’ll have to wait and see. It’s a work in progress,” Ogilvy said of course discussions. “There are probably a few things to tweak but fundamentally it’s already a really good course. Strategically it is interesting because it’s not drivers everywhere.” Having called time on his PGA TOUR career, Ogilvy nodded that “part-timer” was a fair description of him as a tournament player. The juices to compete and yearn to win haven’t changed for the 2010 Australian Open winner at The Lakes. “I’ve been one of those guys who has played 25 tournaments a year and on a big tour and I know how that feels when you come home. Somehow it just seems easier,” Ogilvy said. “In some ways I’m probably playing better now than some other times I came back (from the US) to play in Australia. “But it can be frustrating. You expect to play like when you played every week. I don’t have high expectations but I’d love to play well at the Australian Open, be in the mix. “That’d be fun at Victoria where I’ve been a member forever.”

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