They may not have arrived through the front door, but they are officially golfs newest household names.
Swedens Stenson for seeing his number in the Official World Golf Ranking jump from No. 8 to No. 5 after winning the WGC-Accenture Match Play Sunday in Arizona. Australias Ogilvy for finishing second and watching his spot climb from No. 11 to No. 7.
Stenson is now the highest ranked European in the world. He is the highest ranked Swede in the history of the system (Jesper Parnevik previously had ascended to No. 7 on May 14, 2000). And here are the names of just a few people Henrik Stenson is ranked ahead of right now: Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Vijay Singh.
All Ogilvy, the reigning U.S. Open champion, has done is play in the WGC-Accenture Match Play twice and won 11 of 12 matches.
Anybody in golf who has halfway been paying attention of late already knew of Stenson and Ogilvy. But now their reputations will precede them and their global marketing value will begin to extend past the endemic world of golf.
In short, they are both now too good and too accomplished to ignore any more in the world of sport that reaches outside their own game.
Ogilvy won this event last year and quickly found a second act at the U.S. Open four months later when he kept his head and won the tournament while Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie, among others, were losing theirs.
Later in the year his wife gave birth to the couples first child after which Ogilvy mainly just hung out at home in Scottsdale. He was clearly fresh when he showed up last week for the endurance contest that is the WGC-Accenture Match Play.
And Stenson, now a Ryder Cup veteran and perhaps the best player on his continent, showed up with veteran caddie Fanny Sunesson on his bag and a quiet confidence bolstered by a victory at Dubai where Tiger Woods, among others, was in the field.
My favorite Stenson story'and there arent many of them yet on this side of the pond'dates back to last years PGA Championship at Medinah near Chicago. Stenson played well so I asked Adam Scott, who also played well, to tell me what he knew about Stenson.
Well. Scott said, thinking, he hit probably the longest drive Ive ever seen in my life.
That got my attention. So I asked Scott for details. He told me that he, Stenson and Goosen were grouped at the Johnnie Walker Classic in China at the end of 2005.
Retief and I both hit and we figured we were about 340 yards off the tee, Scott said. Up stepped Stenson. And, Scott said, He must have flown us by 60 yards.
Before Stensons bomb stopped rolling, Scott figured it had traveled 460 yards. I asked Scott if he and Goosen said anything to each other. Retief doesnt say much, Scott said.
So I tracked down Stenson. Before the words Johnnie Walker and long drive were out of my mouth a gleam appeared in his eye.
I remember that one, he said, in his trace Swedish accent. It was a missile.
A slight smile complemented the gleam.
Had there been any words, at that moment, between Stenson, Goosen and Scott?
I told them, Stenson said dryly, that I hit it off the heel.
Stensons fellow Euros have known for some time now that he may be the best long, high, straight driver in the world since Greg Norman in his prime. Getting married after Tiger Woods tournament in December also appears to have agreed with Stenson.
Stenson, 30, and Ogilvy, 29, both possess that characteristic that lean, young, long-hitters always seem to have: Their length makes them look physically taller on the golf course than they really are when youre standing next to them off the golf course. It was the same with Norman and, before him, Nicklaus. Davis Love III, older now, will still surprise you that way, too.
The mountain, of course, gets steeper now. Up ahead is Woods at the peak and Mickelson and Scott and Jim Furyk at the base camp.
But ignore Henrik Stenson and Geoff Ogilvy at your own peril.
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