John Huggan chats with Geoff Ogilvy after his second round 70 left him two shots back, and asks him what no one thought to ask in his press conference: how is a fan of classic architecture dealing with the shallow USGA setup.
First, Huggan wins for best lead of the week:
A measure of the relative blandness inherent in so many professional golfers during the early part of the 21st century is that Ian Poulter, by doing little more than wearing colourful trousers, is looked upon by many as a bit of character.Here's what Ogilvy had to say:
In a sport that has, over the past 150 years or so, produced more great literature than any other, and no shortage of diverse and entertaining personalities, this is a sad state of affairs
Still, amid this sea of blandness it remains possible to find the odd free thinker. One such man is Geoff Ogilvy...
"It's almost offensive where they have cut the fairways out there, but I'm trying to enjoy it. It isn't easy, though. This tournament is all about grinding. You could play well here and still feel like you played badly. All it takes is a couple of bad breaks or missing a fairway by a couple of feet in the wrong place and you are shooting 80-odd. But I guess a major is supposed to be like that, in a way."
"Two important aspects of modern golf have gone in completely the wrong direction," he maintains. "Most things are fine. Greens are generally better, for example. But the whole point of the game has been lost. Ben Hogan said it best. His thing was that you don't measure a good drive by how far it goes, you analyse its quality by its position relative to the next target. That doesn't exist in golf any more.
"The angle of attack and the shape of the shot mean nothing nowadays. It is 'Can you hit it through the goalposts?' on every hole. And so the game becomes a one-dimensional test of execution, time after time after time." Still, for all its basic tedium, Ogilvy has so far done a more than fair job of quelling his misgivings about golf, US Open-style.
"It's a different mindset you've got to set yourself," he continued. "If you get yourself in the right mindset, anyone can do it out here when it's tough. You've just got to adjust where your brain is. You've just got to be able to read what is a good score and not a good score. This week you can be as much as four over par after nine holes and not be in bad shape. That's a big adjustment from the courses and events we normally play."