Geoff Ogilvy is determined to play in this year’s Masters after missing his first spot at Augusta in eight years last April and watching compatiot Adam Scott break the biggest jinx in Australian golf to win the coveted crown.
Last year was a bitter pill for the Victorian to swallow – he missed playing after finishing just one spot outside the end of year qualifying rankings and is adamant the same won’t happen again in 2014.
"Obviously I am targeting the Masters," Ogilvy said. "As it stands, the only major I am in is the US Open and the goal is to get back into all of them, starting with Augusta.
"Ever since I knew I wasn’t getting in last year, I have been pretty determined and hell bent on never missing it again. It definitely gets me going on the range and putting green, that’s for sure.
"It would have been really cool to be there as it was a pretty cool Masters for Australia and it was a little bit more sad to miss it given the result."
But the task before him is unenviable. Ogilvy needs to make a move soon on the tournament leaderboards to haul himself back inside the top 50, although a win would automatically give him a place in the field.
To make it back, the 36-year-old will need some big results over the first few months of the year having fallen to 131st in the world, his lowest mark since early 2003.
Ogilvy is confident of a move with courses he likes on his immediate radar but he is wary of trying too hard and burning out.
"I’m setting the schedule, both tournaments and practice, with my mind on the Masters but I went a little bit over the top last year and, with my time again, I would have taken a bit of a time off after getting inside the top 50," he said.
"It is a week to week proposition. Win a tournament and you’re there or accumulate enough points but, to do that, I will have to play better than I have been playing.
"I’ve come back from a true break in Australia with some fresh ideas on little technique things I haven’t appreciated quite enough and I am getting excited to get there."
Meanwhile, although fellow Victorian Robert Allenby has been struggling on the course he has been acknowledged off it.
Allenby’s missed 18 cuts in 24 starts last season and only earned $204,000. To date in the new season he has missed four cuts in seven starts.
But the 42-year-old has helped raise millions of dollars to fight children stricken with cancer.
Allenby lost a childhood friend to cancer at the age of just 13 years old and seven years later when he joined the professional golf ranks, he became involved with the fight against the disease.
In the first year, 150 people came together inside a tent for the Robert Allenby Annual Golf Day and Gala Dinner and raised $60,000 for charity. Now 23 years later, the annual event draws a thousand guests and has raised $26 million to fight childhood cancer.
To recognize Allenby’s charitable efforts, the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA) will honor him with the Charlie Bartlett Award presented by Aberdeen Management.
The award is given to a playing professional for unselfish contributions to the betterment of society and will be presented at the GWAA Annual Dinner on April 9 in Augusta, Georgia.
Allenby joins a very elite group of past winners including Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Tiger Woods, K.J. Choi, Lorena Ochoa, Ernie Els, Tom Watson and Payne Stewart.
By: Robert Grant