‘Never seen anything like it’: Geoff Ogilvy on shocking Tiger Woods feat

Geoff Ogilvy knows what everybody else from his era knows.

“No, I don’t know if you did [want to face Tiger Woods in his prime],” Ogilvy says. “Well, you did for the experience, but you weren’t going to beat him. No one was going to beat him. I don’t know, he was special.”

Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open champion and eight-time PGA Tour winner, joined this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar podcast to discuss course design, the evolution of TV broadcasts, the complicated future of pro golf and lots more, but much of the conversation focused on what it was like playing against and with Woods.

Woods, at 48, is about a year-and-a-half older than Ogilvy, and Ogilvy remembers watching the 1992 LA Open as a kid in Australia, where a 16-year-old Woods made his PGA Tour debut. The announcers on the TV broadcast were raving about what a bright future Woods had.

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“And I was like, well, he can’t be that good,” Ogilvy said. “He can’t be as good as me or a couple of my other friends.”

Then, in the mid-1990s, at the Western Amateur at Point O’ Woods Golf & Country Club in Michigan, Ogilvy got his first chance to see Woods up close.

“We were all bouncing drivers into the trees at the end of the range,” Ogilvy said. “He was flying 3-woods to the top of these trees. So he was hitting it 30 yards past us, and I’d never seen anything like it.”

Woods didn’t win that week, but he made an impression on Ogilvy: “This guy’s on a whole ‘nother level.”

Ogilvy watched him again up close at the 1996 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in England, but eventually their paths crossed during their pro careers, and they played together often. One memorable time was at the 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah, when it was Woods, Ogilvy and Phil Mickelson in a threesome. It was one of the rare times Mickelson and Woods were paired together.

“It was just pandemonium,” Ogilvy said. “There were 300 people inside the ropes, at least. It was just nuts. Anyone with a credential was inside the ropes. I got into lunch the first day, and I can’t remember who I was talking to, but I just sat down at a table to have lunch, and someone was like, ‘This is a weird major; there’s no one here.’ [Laughs]

“‘What do you mean? This is the biggest crowd in the world?!’ Ogilvy said. “But the other side of the golf course there was nobody. The whole tournament was watching one group.”

You can listen to the entire episode with Ogilvy here, or watch the YouTube video here or below.

Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

As GOLF.com’s managing editor, Berhow handles the day-to-day and long-term planning of one of the sport’s most-read news and service websites. He spends most of his days writing, editing, planning and wondering if he’ll ever break 80. Before joining GOLF.com in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and two kids. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.