AS his 10-year exemption into the US Open ends this year, 2006 champion Geoff Ogilvy says he only has more plans to continue at the top.
During the morning of tournament Tuesday at Oakmont Country Club, Ogilvy played a practice round with fellow US Open winner Graeme McDowell, Ireland’s Shane Lowry and Ethan Tracy.
In the afternoon he was practising with the flatstick ahead of a major on a course known to have some of the fastest greens in the world.
And just like the Oakmont greens, time can go fast and this year marks the 10th US Open Championship since Ogilvy’s major triumph at Winged Foot in 2006.
“In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago but other ways it seems like just yesterday. Time is kind of weird like that,” Ogilvy said at Oakmont.
“It’s always good to go back to any tournament that you’ve won and you get good memories.
“It’s gone fast. I don’t really think about the exemption to be honest with you. It’s always a thrill to come back to the US Open and play as the champion.
“Hopefully I can play a bunch more of these.”
Like any US Open, so much of the pre-tournament discussion is on the course and how the USGA sets it up, but even though Ogilvy spoke of similar apprehension he was also filled with praise for the championship and layout.
“It’s incredible. It’s close to the best course in the world that I’ve played. It’s amazing,” Ogilvy said.
“I’m not completely in love with the way they set up for us to play it, but that’s [the USGA’s] deal and they want it to be as hard as they can and they want us to struggle and fight for pars.
“It’s an incredible property, you’d be pretty proud to put your name on this if you built this. It’s right up there in the top handful of courses in the world.”
LISTEN TO OGILVY's FULL TUESDAY INTERVIEW:
Ogilvy defended his US Open triumph at Oakmont in 2007, but he finished 14 strokes behind winner Angel Cabrera, who won with a score of 5-over.
In fact, even though Ogilvy has made the cut in seven of the 12 US Opens he has played, he is yet to finish even-par or better.
Mostly thanks to a closing round 67, Ogilvy’s best score at a US Open was 3-over when he shared 18th at Chambers Bay last year.
However, even if the scoring is tough and the play is difficult, Ogilvy says performing well in a US Open is pleasing for different reasons than other majors or tournaments.
“They’re not a lot of fun I wouldn’t have said to play. But they’re very satisfying to have a good score in,” Ogilvy said.
“It’s damage control all week and sneak a birdie if you can. Every hole is one of the hardest holes you’ve ever played and you’ve got to do it 72 holes in a row. It wears you down.
“It's probably just not a lot of fun when you’re doing it inside the ropes. Afterwards its more satisfying than any other tournament.
“The Masters is fun to play. It’s fun shots everywhere. Theres not a lot of fun out here.”
Like Cabrera at Oakmont, Ogilvy won his US Open with a score of 5-over. Earlier this week, defending champion Jordan Spieth claimed he would take even-par after 72 holes of Oakmont.
However, the Australian has other ideas.
“I would take 4 or 5-over right now,” he said.
“I’d be surprised if anyone finished under-par. They’re supposed to get rain on Thursday which might soften it a little bit you soften the greens a little bit and the course plays longer and the rough will be even harder if it's wet.”
Unfortunately for Australian golf fans, Ogilvy is only one seventh of the Australian contingent, but the 2006 champion doesn’t think the country should have anything to worry about even if the nation’s numbers are less than hoped.
“We’ve only got seven guys in the field. But one of them is the best golfer in the world [Jason Day] and another one is another high top 10 - Adam,” Ogilvy said.
“Adam and Jase are clearly always going to be in the top handful of favourites in tournaments at the moment.
"Marc Leishman threatens in majors quite a lot. He definitely has the game for a place like this. So, I think our chances are as good as any major.”
Ogilvy will be playing the first two rounds of the 2016 US Open with two other former champions, 2010 champ McDowell and 2012 winner Webb Simpson.
The trio will be teeing off from the 1st tee on Thursday at 1:47pm (local time).
Team Titleist: Exploring the Short Game with Geoff Ogilvy:
Want video tips delivered straight to your inbox? Subscribe to iseekgolf.com newsletters.