Home comforts are Geoff Ogilvy’s inspiration in California

REVITALISED by good form in his native Australia at the end of last year, Geoff Ogilvy tees off at this week’s Farmers Insurance Open eager to bury memories of a mediocre 2011 PGA Tour campaign.

Ogilvy posted only four top-10 finishes in 21 starts on the US circuit, failing to win a title and missing six cuts after being sidelined by a finger injury in January and then by a stomach ailment later in the season.

“I’m actually quite excited because I was so broken up last year,” the former US Open champion said at Torrey Pines on Wednesday. “I had a few months off and I wasn’t in contention enough. That’s why I play, to win tournaments and get up there on Sundays. So I’m looking forward to a year full of those types of opportunities.”

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Ogilvy, enjoyed a productive return to his homeland in November and December, representing the International team in the Presidents Cup and finishing in the top four at the Australian Open and Masters events.

“The Australian Masters I played really good on my home course of Victoria Golf Club,” he recalled of an event where he led by two shots going into the final round. “I had a couple of good days and nearly won, so it was really a nice stretch of golf at the end of the year. After having a rough year [in 2011], it was good to get home and play some good golf. My body feels better than it did this time last year and my game feels pretty good, so I’m excited to get going.”

Ogilvy, sidelined for four weeks last year after cutting his finger on coral on the Hawaiian island of Maui before the season-opening Tournament of Champions, has another reason to feel energised this week.

He and his family relocated in December from the heat of Arizona to Del Mar on the California coast near Torrey Pines and he relishes living in terrain very similar to Australia.

“We’ve been here since just before Christmas and it’s been pretty nice,” said the moustachioed Ogilvy, whose seven victories on the PGA Tour include the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot.

“I do quite a bit of surfing and this is very much like Australia around here. A lot of Australians I know say they’re comfortable around here. The trees are all Australian trees. You stole them,” he added with a grin.

“But it’s an Australian-type lifestyle, with the surfing and the beach. It’s a very beachy culture, which is kind of what we’re used to, and the climate is obviously pretty amazing. It’s been pretty good.”