For the world of golf, the last two months have been rather bizarre. Without a ball hardly being hit, the sport has demanded more column inches than ever before. And let’s be honest, it hasn’t all been positive.
Thankfully, with the Abu Dhabi Championship enticing the world’s best players out of winter hibernation, the time has come to return our collective attention back to the golf. For the majority of the high profile players, this is their ‘back to school week‘. Unlike ours, their holiday period has ended not with snow and a broken transport system but in the sunshine of the Arabian Gulf. Faced with a picture perfect golf course and the exciting prospect of a new season, there’s a buzz about this place. The clubhouse is filled with caddies, coaches and players wishing each other happy new year and layering on the sun tan lotion.
One man however who has already played and won this year is Geoff Ogilvy. I spent two hours in his company at the nearby Saadiyat Beach Golf Club as we talked golf instruction. Despite having just flown to Abu Dhabi from Pheonix (there’s a 12 hours time difference between the two so it’s midnight for him as we chat), the Aussie was relaxed and happy to open up about his game. And as I discovered, what this guy doesn’t know about the golf swing isn’t worth knowing.
Also on the Golf Monthly interview rota was Rory McIlory. Last year’s number two informs me that after a brief three day shopping trip in New York, he’s been in the Middle East making some changes to his swing. Risky? Possibly, but Rory’s sights are set on the world’s top five. And if he wins this week to make it in, the golfing world will have an altogether more positive story to kick-start the year.