Yep, the story's about Geoff Ogilvy, but looming over it -- as will happen for the next untold number of months -- is the specter of Tiger Woods. It's not enough for a guy to talk about golf; now, they're going to be talking about how the game is/isn't better without Woods in the field. Check Ogilvy's pitch-perfect response to the inevitable question:
"I think it's an interesting time. No. 1 in the world might be up for realistic grabs this year, depending on how it all takes shape. I am definitely one of those guys; when I play my best, I can play with anyone."
Great answer. Diplomatic where it needs to be -- read between the lines there with the "interesting" -- and also flat-out bold.
Of course, talking tough when Tiger's not playing is like talking tough after the bully has driven off with your car and your girl: "Next time you'll be sorry! NEXT TIME!" Golfers are terrified of the eviscerations of Stephen Ames and Rory Sabbatini; they mouthed off to Tiger, and he proceeded to skin them alive and hang them on meathooks like they were the victims in the first hour of a Saw flick. Here's what I want to see: some golfer stepping up and saying, "Sure, Tiger's not here, but even if he was, I'd be knocking him out of the ground like a fire hydrant! I'd be smacking him around like a tabloid shredding a reputation! I'd be working him over like he was one of the 14 -- " ... well, we'd better stop there. Ain't going to happen, but it would be nice, wouldn't it?
So where were we? Oh yeah, Ogilvy. He rolled early but fell off the table, never seriously challenging after the springtime. He's got a good field of 2009 champions to challenge at the SBS, and even though Woods, Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson won't be there, plenty of rather good golfers will. If Ogilvy can top this crew once again, he'll be able to walk as proudly as he talks.
- Tiger Woods