Written by
Joy Chakravarty
Dec 20 2023
- 5 min
Ogletree champagne 1920

The only time Andy Ogletree struggled throughout his triumphant 2023 Asian Tour season, was when he had to pop open a celebratory champagne bottle at the end of the Hong Kong Open.

Probably, it was the excitement of achieving the number one objective Ogletree and his team had set at the start of the year. By making the cut at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the 25-year-old American secured the Order of Merit crown on The International Series with one event remaining, which earned him a card on the 2024 LIV Golf season, and soon after he wrapped up the Asian Tour merit list.

“Thankfully, I am a professional golfer and not a professional champagne opener. But I will get many opportunities on LIV Golf to pop champagne next year, and I will get better at it,” said Ogletree, who will play for Captain Phil Mickelson’s HyFlyers team.

And that’s the thing about him. There are no ifs and buts, maybes and hopefullys in Ogletree’s lexicon. There is just unwavering self-belief and oodles of conviction.

It showed every time he teed up on the Asian Tour this year. In 11 starts, he won twice (International Series Qatar and International Series England) and recorded five other top-10s. That led to him winning the Asian Tour Order of Merit by almost double the points (2,128.26) over the second-placed Miguel Tabuena from the Philippines (1,436.6), and The International Series Order of Merit by almost double the prize money ($US1,101,828.33) won by second-placed Spaniard David Puig (US$577,800).

“It was a perfect year. The plan coming into the season and all along was to win and get back on LIV Golf. I managed to do that, which was very satisfying. I had a great schedule to play on the Asian Tour and I will cherish this year forever,” said Ogletree.

“I treated every tournament I played as if it was a major championship. That was the only thing we thought about and talked about all off-season. I had just one aim. I won towards the end of last season in Egypt and had a lot of momentum going into the off-season and was able to develop some good plans with my trainer (Kolby Tullier) and my swing coach (Tony Ruggiero).

“And when we checked in for the Saudi International to start the year, we got off and running again (tied ninth) and never looked back. It’s all a testament to some of the swing changes and body progressions that we worked on. Good golf is not just me, it’s a team effort that I was able to play a full season of golf healthy (following a hip surgery in 2020) and build upon each week.”

Looking back at the year, Ogletree said the win at Close House stood out, especially because of the quality of the field at International Series England.

“Newcastle was probably the win that I will remember the most,” said Ogletree, who shot 16-under par and won by seven shots over Majesticks GC captain Ian Poulter.

“It was a stacked field and there were 22 LIV players there. The conditions were very difficult, and I did not have the best start. I opened with a one-over par 72 and was almost outside the cut-line going into the second round. I don’t think I put a step wrong after that.”

Ogletree made 17 birdies and two eagles over his last three rounds around the banks of River Tyne.

The Round of the Year was his bogey-free 66 on day three of International Series Qatar, where he won by three shots over Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul.

“That was the best round of my season by far. The wind in Doha was around 40mph and conditions were brutal, and I was probably the only player to come in with a bogey-free round,” reminisces Ogletree. “There was one player close to my 66, but I beat most of the field by five-six shots that day and it laid the platform for me to win the tournament. It really was the coolest round I played all year.”

As for his Shot of the Year, it was difficult to surpass the hole-in-one on the monstrous 254-yard par-three fourth hole of Tanah Merah Country Club in Sunday’s final round of the International Series Singapore.

“That slam-dunk hole-in-one has to be the most unforgettable shot of the season,” said Ogletree, who made nine eagles and 195 birdies during the year and finished with a stroke average of 68.86. He was No1 in Greens in Regulation at 77.02 percent.

“I had just made a bogey on the previous hole, and the fourth was playing 230 yards with wind from the left. I was stuck between a four and a five-iron and my caddie insisted that I go with a four to a back pin, and land it flag-high instead of leaving myself short and facing a long putt. I got a bit of crap for hitting too much club, but as it turned out, it was the perfect shot!”

Ogletree is looking forward to dividing his time playing the 14 events on the LIV Golf schedule and playing as many events on the Asian Tour as possible in order to defend his Order of Merit crown.

“I am looking forward to the new season…very excited,” said the man from Little Rock, Mississippi, who recently shifted his base to Atlanta, Georgia.

“LIV is where I want to be and that’s where I want to play my golf. The platform they’ve created and the events they’ve put together, it’s premier golf. I really believe in the product and everything it stands for. I want to play against those guys week in and week out.

“I love the fact that it’s a worldwide tour. I’ve really enjoyed getting to travel the world with LIV and with The International Series on the Asian Tour. I have tried to embrace the culture of all the fascinating countries I was able to visit. I am just a small-town kid from Mississippi, and I’m getting to see the world playing a game that I love. So, I just can’t wait to get out there and try to win every tournament.”

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