Ogilvy Just Fine with How He Won US Open

By Associated PressJune 13, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenOAKMONT, Pa. -- Geoff Ogilvy doesn't mind being the guy who won the U.S. Open because Phil Mickelson lost it.
Didn't take the gleam off the championship trophy that's sat atop the Australian's mantle for 12 months. Didn't trim the number of zeros on his winner's check. Didn't stop the phone calls or the e-mails he's gotten since winning a major, which have multiplied by six times since before his U.S. Open victory at Winged Foot.
Geoff Ogilvy
Geoff Ogilvy prepares for his U.S. Open title defense. (Getty Images)
'It's quite nice to be introduced as the U.S. Open champion on the first tee every week,' Ogilvy said Tuesday while preparing for this week's Open at Oakmont. 'That doesn't get old.'
Even if all that talk that Ogilvy won because Mickelson choked may never stop.
'That's fair enough. It's part of last year's golf tournament, that story,' Ogilvy said. 'So it's going to be talked about.'
Except between the two. Ogilvy never has engaged Mickelson in a discussion about how that par 4 Mickelson needed on the 72nd hole to win his first U.S. Open somehow became a double bogey 6 -- a puzzling collapse considering how Mickelson apparently conquered his can't-win-a-big-one label by winning the Masters in 2004 and 2006 and the PGA in 2005.
'It's not really the right thing for me, I don't think, to bring up in conversation,' Ogilvy said. 'I'm sure we'll chat about it one day. I mean, we see each other out on golf tournaments and stuff, but we haven't really had a deep and meaningful about it.'
Ogilvy's 5-over last year made him the first U.S. Open champion since Andy North in 1978 to not break par. But that score illustrates his patience to accept pars rather than gambling on birdies, a strategy that could be successful at Oakmont.
Something else in Ogilvy's favor as he plays in a major the same week he turned 30: the last two winners of USGA tournaments at Oakmont weren't American. South African Ernie Els won the 1994 U.S. Open and fellow Australian Nick Flanagan was a surprise winner of the 2003 U.S. Amateur.
To Ogilvy, Oakmont looks to be as nasty as advertised, even though he says he really didn't shoot a 85 and lose a half-dozen balls during a recent practice round.
'I think I shot 83 and lost two. But it was hard,' Ogilvy said. 'It was five shots harder last Monday than it is right now, by more than that probably. It was really hard. I thought, `There's no way.' I didn't think there would be one score in the 60s at all, and I thought there would be scores in the 90s.'
Having the USGA set up the greens -- they're running slower now than they did for Oakmont member events -- the pin placements and oversee the rough has calmed down Oakmont a bit. But Oakmont's greens are so slick and, on numerous holes, so tilted they can't be made all that much easier.
'They're amazing greens,' Ogilvy said.
Tiger Woods agrees, saying they will easily be the toughest he's encountered for any tournament, major or otherwise.
'Winged Foot's pretty tough, Augusta's pretty tough,' Woods said. 'But both golf courses have flat spots. Augusta may have these big, big slopes, but they have these flat shelves that they usually put the pins on. Here, I'm trying to figure out where a flat shelf is.'
Ogilvy will play his first two rounds with Woods, a pairing certain to create the largest galleries -- Woods has never played competitively at Oakmont or in a Pittsburgh-area tournament. Playing with Woods creates an even greater challenge for his playing partners, who must try to maintain their own tempo, poise and concentration while dealing with Tiger's throngs.
'I've always played decent when I've played with him,' Ogilvy said. 'It sounds silly. It's almost easier to focus in his group because it's complete chaos around you and, when there's that much chaos going on, you ignore it and it all blends in and you don't notice it as much. It's a good opportunity to watch the best golfer of all time pick his way around a great golf course.'
Mickelson, No. 2 in the world rankings to Woods, ended speculation that the left wrist injury that occurred at Oakmont several weeks ago would keep him from starting Thursday. But he was limited to nine practice holes Tuesday and planned to go only nine again Wednesday, and is resigned to playing in discomfort.
Only a week ago, a doctor promised he would be pain-free by Oakmont. This less-optimistic outlook could make it much harder for Mickelson to win, especially if he ventures too often into the dreaded, porcupine-like rough.
He'll also need a strong, steady wrist to handle his putter but, since arriving at Oakmont, Mickelson has required a tight-fitting bandage or brace. He also couldn't play competitively before a major, as he prefers to do, sitting out Memphis last week after pulling out of the Memorial two weeks ago after only 11 holes.
'I've had two wonderful doctors give me the same diagnosis, inflammation, cortisone shots should help, let's do it this time, it will take a few days to kick in,' he said. 'Rest, don't do too much after the rounds, ice, blah, blah, blah. I absolutely respect what they have said.'
They might have offered one more piece of advice.
'I should be able to have it be manageable as long as I don't aggravate it,' Mickelson said. 'Or hit it in the rough.'
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