Think back with me, if you will, to January 10 of this year. While most of the golf world's attention was focused on a certain someone in Florida, there was a tournament going on in Hawaii to start the season.
The SBS Championship was won by Geoff Ogilvy, the former U.S. Open champion and incredible talent from Australia. Fresh off a 2009 that saw Ogilvy win twice, it seemed that his name would be near the tops of leaderboards for most of the season.
But, interestingly enough, that was it for Geoff. His win at the SBS was the only top-10 Ogilvy had for seven months, missing six cuts over that stretch. It was basically the entire tour season, and until his second place tie two weeks ago at the Deutsche Bank Championship, he was having one of his worst seasons on record.
That might change with a win this week at the Tour Championship. Ogilvy opened with a 4-under 66 to tie for the lead with Paul Casey and Luke Donald, only the sixth time this year that the Australian was able to break 70 on Thursday.
This great play later in the season might come as a shock to most, seeing the way he played this year, but it probably is as shocking to Ogilvy as it is to anyone. Of his seven PGA Tour titles, only one has come after March 24, and that was the U.S. Open that Phil Mickelson handed to him nicely in 2006.
It isn't just a fluke that he's struggled this year after his win in Hawaii. In '09 Ogilvy only had one top-10 after the Shell Houston Open in early April. In '08, he didn't finish in the top-28 following the U.S. Open in June.
Maybe it's a lack of focus as the season wears on Ogilvy, who is still ranked 28th in the world despite his disappointing year, but a title at East Lake sure would help make the case that he can keep it together for an entire season.
He will be battling two Englishmen that are both looking to prove something as well. Donald hopes to show people that he was the right captain's pick by Colin Montgomerie, and Casey is hoping to show that same man that he shouldn't have been passed over.
They will both have to take down Ogilvy, who will show us in the next three rounds if this was a fluke of a round, or if he is actually back to playing the type of golf we are used to seeing him play.