Date: November 27, 2018
Author: Tony Webeck, PGA of Australia

Ogilvy excited by new opportunities

European Tour member. Course architect. Tournament promoter. Maybe even a move to the other side of the microphone.

Geoff Ogilvy makes his return to the Australian PGA Championship for the first time in six years at RACV Royal Pines Resort from Thursday but it is life away from the golf course that now occupies much of the 41-year-old’s thinking.

Stepping back from the US PGA Tour after 20 years living overseas, the Ogilvy family are in the process of relocating back to Melbourne where the next phase of his career awaits.

A highly regarded voice in world golf, Ogilvy has already moved into the area of course design with the OCCM Golf team and is eager to explore other opportunities that may arise from a less hectic playing schedule.

Although he hasn’t played a round of golf with a scorecard in his back pocket for some five months, Ogilvy knows a strong week at Royal Pines will open the door to a semi-regular return to the European Tour in 2019 but is particularly excited about what else is in store.

“I feel like the golf world is my oyster a little bit,” said Ogilvy, the 2008 Australian PGA champion.

“I kind of wanted that second half of the golf life career to be based in Australia, because I've lived (in the US) a long time, and I'm kind of ready to come home.

“We’re going to be back in January and based out of Australia for the next… hopefully forever maybe and bounce around the world a little bit more. Play some more interesting places and still play a little bit in America but maybe get into the architecture side of things, maybe ask a few questions in the media one day or something like that.”

Unable to play the Australian Open two weeks ago due to a promise to take his three children to Disneyland, Ogilvy has strong opinions about the future scheduling of professional tournaments in Australia.

Starting his professional career in 1999 with two years full-time on the European Tour, Ogilvy would like to see an even greater alignment between Europe and the Australasian Tour.

The Australian PGA Championship is one of three co-sanctioned European Tour events in Australia and Ogilvy believes a shift in dates would breathe new life into tournament golf in Australia.

“I always like to have tournaments in January and February,” Ogilvy explained.

“I think we should use the Australian Open tennis as half of the sports world is coming down to watch it anyway.

“They're all looking at Melbourne, we have better weather, for that part of the country at least, potentially go that side of summer.

“That European Tour co-sanction is huge for Australians, it's really, really big, especially for the young guys.

“It's really important and it's definitely maybe the best carrot we have to get guys kind of in the middle of, Do I come or not, well it's Europe, so I’d better go.  It's an important thing, I think, for us.”

As Marc Leishman called for Thursday’s yellow theme honouring the memory of Jarrod Lyle to become an annual feature of the Aussie golf calendar, Ogilvy revealed that he and Robert Allenby were exploring the potential of a new tournament altogether in Lyle’s honour in Melbourne.

“I think it would be very appropriate that there might be room to create a new tournament in Australia,” said Ogilvy.

“The Masters is done; there might be space. Obviously there is a whole lot of stuff to get organised but hypothetically it seems like a cool idea to have a Jarrod Lyle Tournament. Whether it be a big tournament or a small tournament, but honours Jarrod every year.

“It's a non-profit tournament that raises money for wherever the Lyle family wants to go, probably Challenge, I would expect. And I think you could create a feeling that might get quite a lot of enthusiasm behind the tournament and a lot of players coming in to play because everybody liked Jarrod.

“It would be appropriate, because he was a great golfer from Melbourne, and it would raise money for Challenge. Around that framework there is obviously a million different boxes you have to tick to get it to work but Robert and I loved the idea instantly. 

“Conceptually it's a cool idea. It would be amazing it if we could create a legacy tournament for Jarrod, which would do a lot of good and it would actually help the alternative motive, which is you get maybe a great tournament in Melbourne again.

“We talked about the idea and we both loved it.”