Date: February 14, 2019
Author: Tony Webeck, PGA of Australia

Ogilvy eager to mentor young stars

Lucas Herbert and Min Woo Lee are two of Australian golf’s brightest young talents; Geoff Ogilvy wants to help them to become winners.

Still young in their professional careers – Lee only made the move from the amateur ranks in January – both Herbert and Lee have played well above their weight in the past two editions of the ISPS HANDA Super 6 Perth tournament.

When the 2019 event tees off on Thursday morning at Lake Karrinyup Country Club the pair will be among the top-10 tournament favourites with bookmakers but Ogilvy knows it takes more to transfer talent into professional wins.

A winner of eight US PGA TOUR events including the 2006 US Open, Ogilvy relocated with his family back to Melbourne in January and hopes that he and other experienced Aussies can help the next generation realise their potential.

“One of the things I would love to do when I'm at home is just play golf with all these guys,” said Ogilvy, back at Lake Karrinyup for the first time since the 2014 Perth International.

“Just practise with these guys, play with an ulterior motive that it will help me to get better too.

“If they can learn anything from me either just by watching or any advice they ask or anything like that, that would be great.

“I don’t feel like we owe it but it's a nice thing if each generation can kind of keep helping the generation to follow.

“We've got so many successful golfers out of the last 20 or 30 or 40 years. There's a lot of experience and wealth of knowledge there that might never have been found in the past.

“And not just me, it's all the guys. The Marcus Frasers, the Peter O'Malleys and the Mike Claytons, a whole bunch.

“None of us know everything, but we all know a little bit. Collectively, that knowledge would be a real bonus for these kids.

“It would be a step forward, an advantage. Just being around guys who have done it I think helps.

“When I got to play with experienced guys when I was young, whether they tell you anything or not, you learn just by being around them and watching them, how they go about things.

“It would be great to see the Aussie pros who have had success come back and just be a part of the whole thing.

“No one has to take a very active role, just be a part of it when these kids call.

“They understand the golf swing and the technique up and down, but we know how to apply that to winning tournaments. There's a gap there, for sure.

“I think it could be really, really beneficial.”

Admitting that he is unlikely to ever return to a full playing schedule as he pursues other interests, does school drop-offs and watches his beloved St Kilda AFL team, Ogilvy is unsure to what extent he will play tournament golf in 2019.

He will play the New Zealand Open in two weeks’ time and indicated that he will play the Zurich Classic of New Orleans on the PGA TOUR in April but will be primarily focused on quality golf over quantity.

“I've never been more motivated to be a good golfer, but I've never been less motivated to run around with a suitcase and go to strange places and leave the family,” said Ogilvy, who will play alongside Japan’s Yuta Ikeda and South Australian Wade Ormsby in the opening round on Thursday.

“I would think 10, 12, 15 (tournaments) a year would be a pretty reasonable guess on what's going on; where they are, I'm not sure.

“Whether I move more in the architecture direction and just play part-time golf or I just kind of need a year off and get back into full-time golf, I'm not really sure yet.

“I just want to do the school run, the footy coaching, all that sort of stuff. Go and see the Saints play a little bit, be Australian for a while and play golf selectively and work on the game.

“As it stands right now, I would be surprised if I was a full-time guy again, but you never know.”

A partner with the Ogilvy Clayton Cocking Mead golf course design company that has overseen extensive changes at Lake Karrinyup, playing more often on Australia’s best courses is another positive in Ogilvy’s return home.

“It's just an immaculately-conditioned better version of what we've always known at Karrinyup. I think it's great,” he said.

“There are some quite dramatic shots because you're coming downhill to some of these greens and it's quite a spectacular place, too, in spots. You run out of praise, it's just a great place to play golf.

“I definitely got a bit jaded with the US Tour. The PGA TOUR is an incredible tour, it's unbelievable, but it just didn't inspire me anymore. I wasn't getting excited to see these golf courses.

“Every now and then you get some really amazing ones on that tour, but generally the setups I didn't really enjoy.

“An added bonus to being here is being able to come and play more tournaments on courses that I enjoy and this is one of the examples.”