2006: Ogilvy holds his own
By Rex Hoggard
At 8:30 a.m. Aug. 17, the pairing all the world had pined for arrived at the 10th tee on Medinah’s No. 3 course. On tap for the first two days of the season’s final major was the mano-e-mano matchup of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Some in the raucous gallery were likely wondering, who in the world was Geoff Ogilvy?
Ogilvy, the sheepish Aussie with a keen wit and one of the quietest major championship victories in recent memory, was something of an affable afterthought in the high-profile pairing of the season’s first three major championship winners.
Woods and Mickelson were the top cards, Ogilvy a warm-up act with plenty of potential. And the reigning U.S. Open champion knew it.
“I’ve got the best seat in the house,” said Ogilvy, who matched his high-profile playing partners birdie for birdie and was tied for fifth along with Woods at 7 under through two rounds. “There was a few ‘Go Geoffs’ in there. There was even one ‘Go Joe (Ogilvie).’ So I felt right at home.”
While all eyes were on Woods and Mickelson for Rounds 1 and 2, Ogilvy was adding to his ever-expanding major resume. In addition to winning the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in June, he has finished 16th or better in his last six majors dating to the 2005 British Open at St. Andrews.
Even more impressive than his finish or the way he handled the intense glare of his high-profile pairing with Woods and Mickelson, was how Ogilvy rebounded from a disastrous start to his third round. After catching his pitching wedge approach shot into the first hole heavy, Ogilvy missed a 6-footer for bogey and quickly dropped off the leaderboard.
“It could have gone either way after the first hole but it went back the right way,” said Ogilvy, who played his next 17 holes in 6 under. “It wasn’t the end of the world.”
Ogilvy’s ability to bounce back when things don’t go his way also was a key component to his U.S. Open victory. However, overcoming adversity hasn’t always come easy to the Australian.
“His reputation in days gone by has been that he’s a little hothead,” said Dale Lynch, Ogilvy’s longtime swing coach. “He had a tendency to get a little angry and hotheaded at times and it would affect his performance. It’s just been another area of his game he’s had to work on.
“But now, he’s almost the ultimate professional out there.”