"Somewhere it has all gone wrong.”

Paul Forsyth talked to Geoff Ogilvy for a Sunday Times profile.  Thanks to reader John for reminding about this.

“I’m not against the course being lengthened, but the fairways were never meant to be narrow. The point was that you had a paddock to hit into, but you had to make a decision as to what side of the fairway was good. Now you don’t have a choice.” Ogilvy regrets that technology has drastically changed many of the world’s great courses, rendered some of them redundant, and diminished the game’s entertainment value. By responding to Tiger Woods’s every achievement with more rough and more yards, they have made the spectacle more boring.

“You don’t need an array of shots any more, and that’s not good for spectators. Who wants to watch us drive into the rough, chip out to 80 yards, and try to get up and down? There is no excitement in that, no imagination or strategy. One day, somebody will realise that the score relative to par does not reflect the quality of a golf tournament.”

I like this...
By now, Ogilvy is getting everything off his chest, suggesting a think tank of the 100 smartest minds in golf to address the game's problems. “It is in everybody’s interests because it appears, in America anyway, that fewer and fewer people are playing the game. In the old days, you went out in a Saturday threeball, and in under three hours, you would be back in the clubhouse having a beer. Now, it costs you £150 and it takes five hours. At some courses, you’re driving a cart, so you don’t talk to anyone, and you’ve lost eight balls in the rough. Somewhere it has all gone wrong.”
And on the state of world golf... 
There ought to be more, however. Henrik Stenson, the Swede who last month denied Ogilvy a successful defence of his WGC-Accenture Match Play title, is still having to justify his rise to fifth in the world. “It’s incredible,” says the Australian. “Henrik plays well, and they all start questioning the validity of the world ranking system, but he has won four times in the past year. In the Match Play, they were talking as though this guy had never played golf before, and yet he had beaten Tiger in Dubai two weeks earlier. Some people here have a hard time looking past the borders of their own country.”

Ogilvy could do with another big win to cement his reputation. His US Open triumph would not have been possible without the dramatic collapse of Phil Mickelson, Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington. “Another major would make the first one more credible, but I’m not in this to influence what people think of me,” he says. “I just like doing it. Standing on the 18th tee at Winged Foot was the most fun I have ever had in my life. We don’t know how lucky we are.”