Ogilvy’s home-spun Australian PGA build-up

Murray Wenzel |

He may now only be an occasional golfer but US Open winner Geoff Ogilvy reckons he’s never had more practice swings before the return of the Australian PGA Championship in Brisbane.

Ogilvy — who has also won three World Golf Championships events in a career that includes 12 professional titles — has been starved of competitive opportunities since returning home to Australia in 2019 in the prelude to the domestic calendar being decimated by COVID-19.

The 2020 PGA Championship was cancelled, while last year’s edition has been rescheduled for this week — while the next instalment is set to be played later in 2022 to re-align the calendar.

The delay of the 2021 event means past winners Adam Scott (2013, 2019) and Cameron Smith (2017, 2018) and fellow US PGA Tour members Marc Leishman and Lucas Herbert were no chance to feature, given their seasons have already begun.

A winner in 2008, Ogilvy will tee it up at Royal Queensland Golf Club from Thursday as one of the major drawcards.

But with only social golf, the Sandbelt Invitational — Ogilvy’s own creation in which players tackled four Melbourne courses in four days in December — and two other events under his belt in the past 12 months, he admits he could be rusty.

“I’ve played less golf in the last two years than I’ve probably ever played since I was six or seven,” Ogilvy said on Wednesday.

“Tournaments are different from home golf, but it’s a bit like riding a bike, so we’ll see.

“I have golf clubs all over my house, I’ve got the putting mat in front of the TV and I haven’t stopped swinging golf clubs.

“I’ve made more practice swings in the last two years than I’ve made in the previous five.”

That relatable trait has had its benefits, with the considered thinker saying it’s allowed him to take a “deep dive” into his own technique that would normally be too difficult to manage in competition.

That brings with it natural expectations that he hopes to temper on a challenging, thought-provoking layout.

“It’s very easy to have no expectations today, but if I hit a few good shots today all of a sudden I’m going to come out tomorrow excited,” he said.

“I’ve been better and better at it (tempering expectations) over my career; that’s just a maturity, growing up thing and understanding that golf very often doesn’t go how you want it to go.”

Scottish Open champion and world No.49 Min Woo Lee will start favourite in an open field that also includes three-times champion Peter Lonard and the country’s emerging young talent.