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Australian Geoff Ogilvy plays in Detroit while getting reacquainted with PGA

Geoff Ogilvy chips onto the 14th green in the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Fla., on March 16, 2017. (AP file photo)

By DOUG FERGUSON

AP Golf Writer

Geoff Ogilvy walked into the locker room two weeks ago at the Barracuda Championship and didn’t recognize many faces. He’s pretty sure they didn’t recognize him, either.

“They were probably thinking, ‘Who’s that old guy with the beard and no hair?'” he said.

That would be a U.S. Open champion at Winged Foot, the winner of three World Golf Championships who once reached as high as No. 3 in the world and then quietly walked away to spend more time in golf course design and promoting youth golf at home in Australia.

And now Ogilvy is back. He’s just not sure for how long, or even where.

“I’m dipping my toes into the ‘playing golf’ ocean,” Ogilvy said upon arriving in Detroit for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

It will be his second PGA Tour event in the last three weeks, which is a lot for the 45-year-old considering his last PGA Tour appearance was four years ago before finding a window to move his family to Melbourne.

Ogilvy never intended to abandon the game entirely. His hope was a limited playing schedule combined with design work with the golf architecture firm OCM. But then the COVID-19 pandemic happened and forced him to change direction.

Getting out of this country wasn’t the issue. It was getting back in.

“I got forced into pivoting to more full-time design and school pickups and drop-offs,” Ogilvy said. The oldest of his three children is Phoebe, who turns 16 in the fall.

“It was nice to spend so much time with them — long periods of time, not a week here and a week there. It was great. But I was getting itchy to play golf. I’d like to be able to play some tournaments. As much as it’s been enjoyable sitting around with the kids and doing design work, it illustrated to me what I am as a golfer.”

OCM is keeping him plenty busy with a renovation plan for Medinah No. 3 ahead of the 2026 Presidents Cup. What led him back to the PGA Tour was a new club Ogilvy, Mike Cocking and Ashley Mead are designing about two hours west of Minneapolis called Tepetonka.