Phil's folly; Monty's meltdown and some guy named Geoff Ogilvy

Hard to imagine Phil Mickelson would make double bogey to lose the U.S. Open on the 18th. I’m still shaking my [photopress:geoff_ogilvy.jpg,full,alignright]head, and apparently so is Phil:

“I just can’t believe that I did that,” said a despondent Mickelson. “I am such an idiot. … This one hurts more than any tournament because I had it won. I just can’t believe I couldn’t par the last hole. It really stings.”

Mickelson, who had missed fairway after fairway, actually hit a tent on 18. Instead of taking his medicine and trying to get up and down for par, Phil couldn’t resist being, well, Phil, and went for the green. The result? Geoff Ogilvy ended up as the U.S. Open Champ, backing into the victory.

“So it hurts because I had it in my grasp and just let it go,” Mickelson said.

He’s right.

The full Phil story is here.

Equally interesting was Colin Montgomerie’s failure to make even a par from the middle of the fairway on the 18th. Montgomerie looked cursed, when he fired at the flag and pushed the ball slightly to the right and into the rough on the final hole. Monty, who has nearly won the U.S. Open twice before, ended up one shot out of a playoff because of his huge mental error. Now well on the wrong side of 40, and with lots of problems with his game, I’d be surprised if he ever flirts with victory at a U.S. Open again.

“This is as difficult as it gets,” Montgomerie said later. “Sometimes, you wonder why you put yourself through this.”

Indeed. Monty’s meltdown is here.

So that left Geoff Ogilvy with the title of U.S. Open champ. Remarkable considering he hit only 57% of his fairways. Want to know more about the Aussie sensation? Here’s a pretty good summation. Oh, and he’s not Joe Ogilvie, though the U.S. media mixes the two up all the time. Maybe his win will change that, but don’t hold your breath.

Here’s Ogilvy’s comments on what happened on the last two holes:

Q: Talk about the chronology of coming down and seeing what happened with Phil, and maybe from your 17th hole?

Geoff Ogilvy: 17, I thought I was in a bit of trouble. Obviously I was way in the boonies, had a terrible lie, tried to go for a bit too much but thought I had to at that point. I thought 4 under was going to be the number because Monty just made birdie on 17, and I thought one of them was going to finish at about 3 or 4. Left it in the rough, missed the green. Yeah, wow, chipped it in. Just scary. What do you say? I mean, a shot that you wait your whole life to chip it in in a situation like that when you need to, and then you do.

Monty was on the fairway on 18, and I thought he’s going to hit the green and make a 4 and I’ll have to make a birdie. I hit the best drive I hit all week right there. It wasn’t in a divot; it was my end of a divot, so it didn’t really affect how I hit the ball. It might have slowed the ball down because of the sand, but in the air I thought it was going pretty close, I have to say. I was pretty happy with my second shot.

After the first time all week it kind of hits and spins back. There have been some big bounces out here so it’s weird. It’s flying another foot, it’s right down the hill. I thought I’ll get this up and down and I’ll lose by a shot, that’s what I thought. It was a tricky chip shot, and I hit a good shot and made the putt, and I thought 2nd in the Open is pretty good. That’s a good spot.

Phil is probably going to think about that one for a while because that’s hard to swallow. I thought I would make a playoff because 18 is a hard hole, but I never thought that would happen.

His full interview is here.

Around the course: Did you notice that though David Duval didn’t flirt with the lead, he did finish 11th for the tournament? …. In Canada, TSN’s ridiculous coverage included cutting away to commercials at the strangest places, like as Vijay Singh was setting up to putt. It happened over and over as the TV station jammed more and more commericals in where the U.S. network didn’t have them. Thank god for my PVR …. Mike Weir plodded along to a 6th place finish. But you didn’t see him on TV. Not once on the final day that I saw … Similarly, Jeff Sluman and Nick O’Hern also finished in the top 10, posting the best scores of the day at 69, but NBC was too wrapped up in crowning Phil and the badly named “Mickelslam” that neither made it onto the tube.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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