A week in New Orleans behind enemy lines shapes as the X-factor in the Internationals breaking a 21-year winless drought at the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in December.
Shortly after US captain Tiger Woods announced Fred Couples, Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson as three of his assistants for the biennial matches at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in December, Geoff Ogilvy spoke of his role as an assistant to Internationals captain Ernie Els.
Playing this week’s ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth event at Lake Karrinyup Country Club, Ogilvy revealed that he will make one of few appearances on the PGA TOUR this year at the Zurich Classic at New Orleans in April, where those in contention to represent the Internationals will be encouraged to take part in the two-man teams event.
Aussies Jason Day and Adam Scott have indicated they will reform their 2013 World Cup-winning partnership in Louisiana with Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith another likely combination when the teams meet in Melbourne.
Although unsure he will play with that week – “I’ll do whatever Ernie tells me to do” – Ogilvy is adamant that the opportunity to play fourball and foursomes in tournament conditions is one that the Internationals would be foolish to ignore.
“We’ve got some emails and WhatsApp groups going around to try and work out some pairings for New Orleans because it is such a great opportunity. We never get to play best ball and foursomes in a tournament,” Ogilvy explained.
“We know the pairings that work, try a few different ones, flying a little bit less by-the-seat-of-your-pants during the week of the Presidents Cup because we’ll have a little bit of a measure from New Orleans.
“And it will be a bonding week. We’re all going to get in the same hotel in the same area; New Orleans is a good week to eat and drink and be merry and enjoy each other’s company.”
Leishman, Smith and Day all currently sit inside the top-10 in the Presidents Cup standings with Ogilvy revealing that he and Els had been discussing how they could engineer a win since serving as assistants under Nick Price when the Internationals were defeated 19-11 two years ago.
“Ernie and I were both assistants in New York last time and we were talking a lot about what we’re going to do next time,” Ogilvy said.
“It wasn’t anything that was different from ‘Pricey’ but just ideas he has picked up playing every Presidents Cup up until the last one.
“A more competitive guy than anyone I have ever met, Ernie Els. Hyper competitive, so he’s very motivated.
“He’s been very active on the emails and the messages, he’s leaving no stone unturned, I’ll say that much. I think he’ll be a great captain.”
While Els and Ogilvy are carefully plotting the Internationals’ preparation, Ogilvy questioned the timing of Woods’ tournament, the Hero World Challenge, the week before in the Bahamas.
“The logistics of flying from the Bahamas on Sunday and trying to play in Melbourne on Thursday, that’s a big trip,” Ogilvy said.
“That’s an advantage for us. If they’re coming across 13 time zones two days before the tournament starts, that’s a massive advantage for us I would think.”
A three-time Presidents Cup representative, Ogilvy was a month into his professional career when the Internationals enjoyed their lone win at Royal Melbourne in 1998 and having relocated back to Melbourne with his family in January, is excited by the prospect of being part of a winning team in December.
“I missed the cut at the NZ Open at Formosa and I flew back and watched the weekend,” Ogilvy recalled.
“That was great.
“It would be nice to do that again. That looked fun.”
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