Ogilvy goes cross country to shoot 65
AP Golf Writer
PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) – What a turnaround for Geoff Ogilvy.
The former U.S. Open champion shot a 6-under 65 on Saturday in the Transitions Championship, but more amazing was his inadvertent cross-country flight that preceded his low score of the year.
Thinking he had missed the cut, Ogilvy wound up flying home to Arizona and turning around within an hour to get back to Tampa in time for the third round at Innisbrook.
“It was worth coming back,” Ogilvy said.
His odyssey began when he finished his 71 in the second round at 12:45 p.m. Friday and saw that he was tied for 83rd. With hardly any wind, Ogilvy figured there was no way he would make the cut, so he booked a first-class ticket back to Phoenix.
He was having a few beers in the airport, checking the scores, making little progress. As he was boarding the plane, his position suddenly improved to a tie for 72nd – the top 70 and ties make the cut – and he then began a desperate attempt to disembark.
Getting off the plane was easy. Getting golf clubs off the plane? Not so much.
“The only way to get my bags in Tampa was to fly to Phoenix,” Ogilvy said.
The baggage handlers said the flight was too close to leaving, and to search for his luggage might mean some 50 passengers missing their connections in Houston.
Worse yet, he gave up his first-class seat to stay in Tampa, and when he realized his only choice was to fly to Phoenix, he was stuck in coach. At least they gave him an exit row.
During the layover in Houston, Ogilvy arranged for a private jet to take him back to Tampa. He landed in Phoenix a little after 10 p.m. and was on his way back under an hour later. He still had one more problem to solve, however.
Having done a Foot-Joy commercial during his two weeks in Florida, and getting restocked with shoes, Ogilvy decided to ship home all his golf shoes and golf balls.
“I shipped all the heavy stuff home. All my shoes and golf balls are in a UPS van somewhere,” he said. His wife, Juli, had to make the hour drive to the Phoenix airport to meet him with a pair of golf shoes.
As for the balls?
“Does anyone use Titleist black?” Ogilvy said, referring to the Pro V1, when he showed up in the locker room Saturday morning. Nathan Green raised his hand, and Ogilvy then uttered something rarely heard on the PGA Tour.
“Can I borrow a sleeve?” he said.
Ogilvy was among 86 players who made the cut, bringing more uncertainty. Anytime more than 78 players make the cut, there is another cut to top 70 and ties on Saturday. It was possible Ogilvy could have gone to all that trouble, and still been sent home packing Saturday.
“I thought about that,” Ogilvy said. “It was fair motivation to play well today. I didn’t want to miss the Saturday cut, as well. The worst would have been had I been on the fringe and been on another flight. I could have tempted fate again.”
No chance of that. He shot 30 on the back, running off three straight birdies on a difficult stretch.
Ogilvy wound up sleeping for about an hour from the time he left Tampa until he returned. It didn’t affect his play on the Copperhead course.
Why even bother coming back?
“It’s the right thing to do, isn’t it?” Ogilvy said with a shrug. “I never even considered not coming back.”