ATLANTA (AP) - Geoff Ogilvy broke into a befuddled smile, searching for the right words, unsure exactly how to reply.
If he could only have one thing this weekend, what would it be: A win in the Tour Championship? Or a championship for his beloved Aussie rules football team?
“That’s not really a fair question,” he finally said. “I don’t know. That’s not a fair question. I’m not going to answer that question.”
Ogilvy shot a 3-under 67 on Friday and was just one stroke off the lead heading to the third round of playoffs-ending championship. But cashing a big paycheck wasn’t the only thing on his mind.
Early Saturday, his favorite team back home, the St. Kilda Saints, faced the Collingwood Magpies in the Australian Football League Grand Final before an expected crowd of some 100,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Ogilvy planned to stay up late watching the game on television, even though it wasn’t likely to end until around 3 a.m. EDT and he has an 11:15 a.m. tee time Saturday. The leaders are going off earlier than the first two days because _ get this _ NBC also is broadcasting an American-style football game, Notre Dame vs. Stanford.
“It would be nice if there wasn’t an Irish football game tomorrow and we could have this tee time again,” Ogilvy said, referring to his early afternoon start Friday. “I’ll get a bit of sleep. It’s less than ideal, but I’m not going to miss watching this game.”
Ogilvy was asked what it would mean for St. Kilda to win a championship. After all, the Saints have been around since 1897 _ and they have captured only one premiership, way back in 1966.
“St. Kilda is the hard-luck club of the league,” he said. “The last 10 years they’ve been one of the best teams for sure, and they just haven’t been able to get over the line. There’s a lot of people that will be crying when they walk out of the MCG if they win. I mean, there’s a lot of people who have lived their whole life and not seen St. Kilda win a premiership.”
Count the 33-year-old Ogilvy among them. He was born more than decade after St. Kilda’s only title, but that hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm for the Saints.
He’s played in outfits matching St. Kilda’s colors _ red, white and black _ and worn golf shoes emblazoned with the team’s logo. Last year, he got about two hours of sleep before the third round of the Tour Championship, struggling to doze off after the Saints lost a dramatic Grand Final to Geelong.
Not that it hurt him on the course. Taking out his frustration on East Lake, he shot a 64.
“You can play golf on no sleep if you haven’t been drinking,” he quipped. “Drinking is what makes it hard when you get no sleep. You couldn’t do it every night, you’d get tired, but we’re all semi-athletes. I mean, three or four hours, you can play golf off three or four hours of sleep.”
Ogilvy would take another 64 _ and it would be even better if he’s celebrating a title in this year of the Saints.
First, New Orleans wins the Super Bowl. Now, St. Kilda?