Geoff Ogilvy has a major championship under his belt, three World Golf Championship titles, and over a decade of experience competing in golf around the world.
Bill Haas has none of those things. Ogilvy, the Aussie, and Haas, the American, are on nearly opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to most things, but this week they are like two peas in a pod, or more aptly two golf balls in a sand trap as they vie for one of the final spots on their respective Presidents Cup teams.
The BMW Championship is the year’s final opportunity for players to earn points towards a role on the President’s Cup Team – talk about pressure – let alone impress their Captains (Fred Couples for the Americans and Greg Norman for the International squad).
Over the last few weeks both Ogilvy and Haas have been just on the outside looking in from their individual teams, an unfortunate product of a relatively inconsistent year. However, in the last three rounds both men have been playing with as much poise as purpose.
Ogilvy has posted three consecutive rounds in the 60s (69-68-68) and is currently at 8-under par, just five shots back of the leader, Justin Rose. His putting has been the real story, needing just 25 putts in each of his last three rounds (see, not everyone needs a belly-putter!).
Heading into the final round Ogilvy will need to a solo third place finish or better to qualify for the Tour Championship next week in Atlanta. Ogilvy, however, says his sights are set on earning a place in the Presidents Cup before anything else.
“Those team events are probably the funniest things that we get to do. We don’t get to do it very often. The U.S. guys maybe get it every year, but we only get it every second year, and the fact that it’s in Australia I think all the Australians have been looking forward to this event since it’s been announced that it’s going to be in Australia.”
Ogilvy currently owns the 10th and final spot in the International team standings, but with one round left and fellow Aussie John Senden one stroke ahead of him there’s nothing set in stone. However, Ogilvy is the more likely candidate because the event is being hosted in his backyard – that’s no joke. Ogilvy has a house that backs up onto the Royal Melbourne Course, which is his home course as well.
Haas currently has a share of third place with Ogilvy and seems to have locked down a spot in Atlanta. But like Ogilvy, he too is on the bubble for representing his country in Australia.
“I want to make the team. I think if I play well tomorrow, I think points wise I might be able to sneak in there. I have a chance anyway. If I don’t play well tomorrow, then it is what it is. There’s a lot of guys that are outside the number that have really had strong years that could easily get picked ahead of me, and I’m okay with that because American players are playing great, and I pull for the team. I obviously want to be on it, but I want to make the team on points.”
For Haas and the Presidents Cup, it’s all or nothing this week. Once Captain Couples declared Tiger Woods would be playing for the American Team – a contentious decision considering Woods’ undeniably mediocre performance throughout the season – it forced Haas to have a terrific outing this week at the BMW or say farewell to his chances of playing down under.
You can see who has secured spots on each of the two teams here.
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)