The Aussie was brutally honest on his national Open in a post for Golf Australia
Geoff Ogilvy: ‘Australian Open Feels Like A Second-Rate Tournament’
Geoff Ogilvy is in the same league as Eddie Pepperell when it comes to speaking his mind on the issues in golf and his thoughts on the Australian Open really are fascinating.
The Australian Open takes place this week at the Lakes Golf Club in Sydney but many golf fans across the world may not be aware of that.
An historic tournament won by the likes of Gary Player seven times, Jack Nicklaus six times, Greg Norman five times, Peter Thomson three times and Arnold Palmer is now struggling for top 50 players and has a smaller purse than the Vic Open which Ogilvy describes as “ridiculous.”
The top Aussie in the field this week is world number 33 Cameron Smith with the likes of Jason Day, Adam Scott and Marc Leishman all skipping.
Other big names who aren’t skipping the tournament include Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker and Keegan Bradley.
The tournament clashes with the DP World Tour Championship, meaning the majority of the European Tour’s 60 best players are ruled out straight away.
As well as Dubai, it also clashed with the Dunlop Phoenix Open, the biggest event on the Japan Golf Tour, ruling out all of the Aussies who ply their trade in Japan plus some other big names who play that tournament like world number one Brooks Koepka and Hideki Matsuyama.
Ogilvy calls his 2010 Australian Open triumph the second-biggest win of his career, behind his US Open title and in front of his three World Golf Championship wins, but says the tournament is being badly run these days.
The Aussie cites issues like the poor scheduling, the tax system which sees international players lose 48% of their prize money, its location sticking to Sydney rather than touring the country and more.
He also notes that the prize money offered now is actually less than what it what when he turned pro two decades ago.
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His ways to improve it include coming up with some sort of corporate deal with Qantas or another airline that sees the world’s top players all fly in to the event first class, get put up in a hotel and fed. This might sound silly but Ogilvy, a veteran pro, believes something as simple as that might work.
He obviously wants the Open to tour the country more and take in the famous Melbourne sandbelt courses plus Adelaide and the New South Wales tracks outside of Sydney.
Another very interesting suggestion is charging Australian golf club members an annual $10 Australian Open fee which he estimates would raise $5m for the tournament and give Aussie amateur golfers the feeling as if they owned their stake in the event.
He’d also like the tournament to employ young budding journalists to post pictures and videos on social media from inside the ropes to help spread the word of the tournament.
As it stands, the Australian Open’s prize fund is $1.25m with the Vic Open, which will feature men and women from the European Tours, offering $3m ($1.5m each for men and women).
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