Daly On The U.S. Open

Thanks to reader Kevin for this story on the press conference to plug the 84 Lumber Classic (note Michelle Wie wearing one of those 84 red jackets). John Daly was asked about the U.S. Open:

Daly was asked if he, like Mickelson, would have used a driver on that fatal 18th hole.

"I probably would have hit an iron, believe it or not," said Daly, he of the prodigious driver. "A 2-iron and then an 8-iron would have been enough. I really didn't watch it."
Daly and Gore agree the game doesn't need more tournaments played on Winged Foot or similar courses that produce only scores in black numbers. Ogilvy's winning score in the U.S. Open was 5-over par.

"I'm not a big fan of plus-5 winning a championship," Daly said. "It's not good for kids to watch guys hacking out of the rough because they start to think these guys aren't that good. I like it when 3-4-5 under wins it."

Crop Circles

Doug Ferguson writes about the success of the USGA's new white drop area circles that were all over Winged Foot. And he also slips in a few gems at the end of his AP column.

NBC Sports paid the rights fee to broadcast the U.S. Open, which presumably gave chairman Dick Ebersol the right to walk down the middle of the fairway behind the final group in the third round...


STAT OF THE WEEK: Geoff Ogilvy was never under par at any point in the U.S. Open.


An Important Victory For Golf

golfobserver copy.jpgJohn Huggan says Geoff Ogilvy's win was an important victory for golf because the Australian has "the potential to be just the sort of wise, high-profile spokesman the professional game needs if it is to rescue itself from the technological black hole into which it is currently headed."

So many great quotes to pull here, so just read it. Some you've read before in other Huggan stories, but to see them all together really makes a powerful statement about Ogilvy's fresh take on things.

And after you read it, contrast it with this nonsense

Will The Real Open Doctor Please Come Forward?

In John Garrity's "Rough Justice" story (SI subscription required) that recaps the setup, he talks to "Open Doctor" Rees Jones, who apparently never found time to explain to Garrity that he is not the doctor of Winged Foot! 

"The pros miss their shots right or left, not short or long," golf architect Rees Jones told me during the third round, "and this is one of the hardest courses in the world to recover from the sides." Jones, who stretched the A.W. Tillinghast-designed West course by 300 yards in preparation for this year's Open, laughed when I asked if he wanted credit for some of the hard-to-reach hole locations. "This may be one of the few courses where hole locations don't matter," he responded. "You could put the hole in the middle of the green, and the players still couldn't get close."
That must be news to Tom Fazio! Or wait, Tom Marzolf, the real visionary behind the doctoring. 
The golfers must have understood that, because there wasn't a lot of grousing at Winged Foot. "There's been some conversation about greens being a bit bumpy," USGA president Walter Driver acknowledged during a Wednesday-morning press conference.

A bit!

"These are poa annua greens, and given the weather and the softness, that's not to be unexpected." Television closeups showed fast-moving putts bouncing and slow-moving putts zigging when you expected them to zag. Woods called the greens "slow and bumpy." Darren Clarke, when asked if they were the worst major-championship greens he had ever encountered, said, "Yes, comfortably."


That was music to the ears of Davis, Jones and Greytok. The USGA man, the course doctor and the greenkeeper spent most of Sunday watching their greens bake in 90° heat, but the poa putting surfaces -- though brown and crusty in spots -- held up. It was the golfers who wilted.

"Winged Foot was Winged Foot," Davis summed up, accepting handshakes and backslaps in the clubhouse. "I can think of a few minor things we might have done differently, but the course was wonderful. For me it was fun to sit back and watch it happen."

U.S. Open Ratings "Tank"

The headline on this Media Life Magazine story: "Without Tiger, U.S.Open ratings tank."

Toni Fitzgerald writes:

Woods exited the tournament on Friday after shooting 12 over par for two days and missing the cut by three strokes. Thus Saturday’s Tiger-less third-round coverage of the U.S. Open on NBC averaged a 3.2 household rating, according to Nielsen overnights.

That was the lowest Saturday average since Nielsen began measuring the tournament in 1982. It was down 27 percent from the previous year, when Saturday averaged a 4.4.

Sunday’s final round averaged a 5.1, down 12 percent from a 5.8 the previous year, when Woods finished second. It was the lowest-rated final round in three years and second-lowest-rated since 1994.

NBC’s two-day average of 4.2, if it holds when final ratings are released later today, would be the worst two-day average since 1988 and tie for second-worst ever.

Golf World Game Story and Cover

gw20060623_cover.jpg Golf World put Phil on the cover with a tiny photo of Geoff Ogilvy. Here are some of the highlights from John Hawkins's game story:

The shot you never saw (because NBC's camera malfunctioned) was a shot you may never want to see, but first, back to the 18th tee. While Mickelson was cleaning up his par on the 17th green, his longtime caddie, Jim Mackay, asked a network cameraman for an update on the status of Montgomerie, who had just completed his round two groups ahead. The NBC guy made sure he had understood Mackay's question correctly, then told him Monty had double-bogeyed the 18th to finish at six over. He was two back.

As Mickelson pondered his final tee shot of the week, Montgomerie's score was posted on a leader board to his left. The crowd went nuts, which might have been all the confirmation Lefty needed, but had he forgotten about Ogilvy, still holding steady at five over? And if Mickelson indeed thought his lead was two strokes, why on earth would he hit a club that had betrayed him the entire afternoon--a club with which he had missed to both sides throughout the back nine?

And, there was our beloved Monty...

It led to the fatal 6 and what could have become the dumbest move of Montgomerie's bluster-filled career. Upon reaching the scoring area, located off a breezeway of the Winged Foot clubhouse, Monty, according to several eyewitnesses, shoved a New York State Police officer as he stomped through the door. Captain Michael Kopy, a zone commander for the NYSP, confirmed the contact, saying, "There was a collision that occurred as the [unidentified] trooper was escorting the Mickelson family out [to the 18th green]. At this point, there was nothing more than a collision in a congested area associated with the event."

In other words, no charges will be filed. A USGA official who saw the incident said the officer involved expressed vocal objection to the contact, saying, "I don't care who he is, he can't touch an officer of the law." According to the USGA official, the state policeman "inflamed the situation" and added, "Monty showed great restraint. I'm not sure he would have in his younger days." (Montgomerie left Winged Foot before he could be asked for comment, and subsequent attempts to reach him and his agent, Guy Kinnings, were unsuccessful.)

And regarding the strategy on 18...

 Mackay talked Mickelson into killing an 8-iron with his mulligan from the Champions Pavilion--Phil had wanted to hit a 9-iron there. It splashed down in a fried-egg lie near the back of the front-left bunker. Behind the 18th green, Phil's wife, Amy, and his parents, Phil Sr. and Mary, weren't sure exactly what was going on, but they knew the news probably wasn't good. Desperate for information amid the massive, largely clueless gallery, Amy turned to a guy standing nearby who was receiving text-message updates from his home.

Her husband had to get up and down from the sand. His fourth rolled through the far side of the green. His chip ran past the hole. Game over. Amy teared up, hands on her cheeks, then called her nanny, asking her to take the Mickelsons' three young children home after they had arrived ready to celebrate. "I didn't want them to be here if it was someone else's moment," Amy said. "I figured it was better if they [left]."

Ogilvy Follow-Up Stories

Andrew Both writes about Adam Scott passing up a seat on Ernie's jet to return to Winged Foot for the finish.

Mark Coultan also reviews Sunday's proceedings, and it includes a photo of his parents toasting the win.

Damon Hack in the NY Times catches up with Ogilvy in Manhattan while he makes appearances.
"He said, 'Congratulations,' " Ogilvy said yesterday in an interview in Manhattan. "He was pretty shaken up about it. He was almost as sad for the fans as he was for him. He's going to remember that one for a while."

If Mickelson never adds a United States Open trophy to his case, the double bogey on the final hole that hastened his demise and elevated Ogilvy to a one-stroke victory will linger in golf's annals. But to view the championship in Mickelsonian terms obscures the back-to-back pars that Ogilvy dug out of Winged Foot's turf, from the greenside rough on No. 17 and with a delicate 6-foot putt on No. 18.

"I knew if I missed it, I had no chance," Ogilvy said of his putt on 18. "I knew if I made it, it would make him have to par the last hole, which is not the easiest thing to do in the U.S. Open. You never know what's going to happen, especially on the last hole."

Ogilvy on Letterman

Clearly, Bill Sheft is missed at Letterman, as Geoff Ogilvy did the "Top Ten Things That Went Through Geoff Ogilvy's Mind After Winning The U.S. Open."

Here's the link to the video that will only be found today (click on Comedy Clips), while the text of the list is posted here and copied below. (The Outback line is much funnier hearing Geoff read it, and unlike most athletes who appear, he recites the Top Ten flawlessly!).

10. "This is one of those things you never forget like seeing John Daly in the locker room naked"

9. "I wish I hand't put all my money on Phil Mickelson"

8. "Even I've never heard of me"

7. "Now I can take a vacation from the grind of playing golf all day"

6. "Crap - - I'm gonna have to go on Letterman"

5. "After all these years, I can finally use my 'World's Greatest Golfer' mug"

4. "I can quit my day job at Outback Steakhouse"

3. "What would Reteif Goosen do?"

2. "I hope this victory isn't overshadowed by America's world cup excitment"

1. "Thank you, Balco!"

Mackay On Sunday's Decisions

Thanks to reader Noonan for this Mark Cannizzaro exclusive chat with Jim "Bones" Mackay, Phil Mickelson's longtime caddie.

"There was never even a consideration about hitting anything but driver," Mackay told The Post yesterday. "Phil hits his 4-wood no more than about 240 yards. A 4-wood into a 10- to 15-mile-per-hour wind uphill is going to go about 225 yards. There was no possible way to hit 4-wood long enough to reach the dogleg if he missed the fairway."

Mackay said Mickelson, who had hit just two of the previous 13 fairways, and he were well aware of what was taking place ahead of them.

"We saw [Geoff] Ogilvy hit his second shot and were guessing that he hadn't put it on the green because he didn't look thrilled with it and we never heard the crowd roar," Mackay said. "With [Colin Montgomerie], we heard from TV guys that he had a 10-foot putt for a five, and 60 seconds later we heard the crowd groan.

"So we knew that 4-over was going to win the tournament, and Phil was not playing for a tie."

 Mackay pointed to the fact that the reason Mickelson kept using driver was that it gave him a better chance to get the ball onto the green.

Timeline On Phil's Shot(s)

us open icon.jpgThe Golf Channel is re-airing the final two hours of the U.S. Open telecast Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. EST and again at 11:00 p.m.. 

Here's a recap, with a few things you might want to look for Tuesday night when Mickelson reaches 18 tee (for all 70 million of you Golf Channel subscribers homes reached).

I'm using TiVo's clock here, not a stopwatch, but the general times should be enough to give an impression how quickly this transpired (when you consider how long Mickelson and "Bones" usually debate shots):

6:51: Ogilvy's second shot into 18 is from only 145, and he catches it so crisp that the ball spins back off the green. My initial impression was that it landed near the top of the upslope and simply didn't quite reach the plateau, and then rolled back. On second viewing, he remarkably put too much spin on it.

6:52: Phil tees off, the blimp shot shows the enormous merchandise tent hugging the tree line. Up at the green, NBC has a stellar camera view of the brutally difficult shot facing Ogilvy.

6:56:30: Ogilvy surveys to hit his incredible wedge shot, Phil is walking forward to see the 18th green while Bones and the USGA's Mike Davis are among those doing crowd control.

6:57: Mickelson reaches a point where he can see the green, and is "looking up ahead" according to Dan Hicks.  We see Ogilvy's amazing wedge shot

6:58:30: Ogilvy makes the incredibly difficult 5-6 footer (it looked longer this time around). Cut to Phil who  acknowledges something Bones says as they walk back to their ball to play the second shot. As they walk, Bones offers a yardage, Mickelson turns to check the line he wants to take.

6:59: They arrive at the ball, Phil looks at his shot, Bones is picking up the bag that is over in the graduated rough and when he arrives, says something that NBC's mikes pick up. The crowd's "go Phil" calls make it impossible to make out what is said. Bones then gives a yardage and Phil pulls the club with almost no discussion. Bones moves away.

7:00: Phil hits his second shot that hits the tree. The crowd rushes forward as do officials and Mickelson.

7:01: Phil has surveyed up ahead and is now walking back to the location of what will be his third shot as crowd order is being restored. As he's walking back to the ball, a kid asks "can you sign this," to which a few people tell him "not now," and Phil does give the kid a quick look. Bones, meanwhile, is looking for a yardage, while photographers and someone with a small digital video camera on a tripod are set up behind Phil.

7:02: Bones says he has 65 to the front, Phil asks are you "thinking this or 9?" I believe Bones says something like "65 to the front means 73 to the hole" and then very clearly, "I'm definitely not thinking 9 at all." Phil says "okay," and within seconds pulls the trigger on shot 3 that buries in the greenside bunker.

It's amazing to see how two professionals who grind out the decision making, take so little time to engage in their normal debate on either shot. The situation was certainly chaotic, but it is fascinating to see how the U.S. Open pressure took even these two elite professionals out of their routine.

Also, I'm having a hard time letting the tent placement go even though I'm thrilled that Ogilvy was the beneficiary of the USGA's greed, as evidenced by this post and follow up commentary from someone who was there.

Check out these Google Earth images of 18 at Winged Foot, taken in early spring before the tree leaves have returned. Envision the lovely Champions tent where Phil's drive hit and then bounced backwards (and to the right). Try to picture that drive not hitting a tent, and I'm pretty confident it ends up in 11 East's fairway with a much better view of 18 West's green.

(click image to enlarge)
(click image to enlarge)





Now, I'm not bringing this up to pick on the USGA's iffy tent location selection or the fact that they've been allowing corporate hospitality to get so close to play since 2000 at Pebble Beach.

Okay, I am.

But ignore those questions, and simply consider if Mickelson would have had a much easier shot into 18 had his tee shot not hit the Champions tent, and had been allowed to end up somewhere on 11 East?

In the 1929 Open? Absolutely.

In 1984? I don't know if the trees were too thick, or what the USGA had in the way of tents on 11 East. But somehow, I suspect there wasn't a giant corporate tent so close to play.

McCleery's TV Review

golfobserver copy.jpgPeter McCleery's Golfobserver.com review of NBC's telecast:
What ranked as one of the more boring TV golf marathons suddenly turned riveting in the last hour or so. Before that, Johnny Miller & Co. failed to explain for the most part exactly why Winged Foot was playing as difficult as it did. Was it the narrowed fairways? The slow, bumpy greens? Did it make sense for a course to play almost as difficult 32 years later as it did in the infamous 74 Open? We never got any answers from watching NBC or ESPN during the long four days of coverage.
NBC's big letdown was when Mickelson drove 70 yards left into the hospitality area on 18, NBC couldn't come up with a low-behind camera angle to reveal the exact nature of his predicament. It was a wild scene with Mickelson and his caddie warning spectators to move out of harm's way. We knew he was in trouble, but it wasn't clear what was in front of him or between him and the green. It came as a surprise, then, when Roger Maltbie told us he hit a tree with his second shot--we never saw the results (were was a blimp receive shot?), until Mickelson hit a similar, slashing third shot. With the tournament on the line, one would have hoped for a more revealing shot or multiple angles, but Mickelson was apparently so far off line that NBC couldn't scramble any better than the fast-fading runnerup.

The pictures were generally spectacular. Even the grand old Winged Foot clubhouse seemed to sparkle. None of the commentators stood out, but at times they could have said less and allowed us to eavesdrop on the players and their caddies' conversations.

Ogilvy's Impact in Australia

Thanks to Graeme for this Richard Hinds commentary on Geoff Ogilvy's win, the weird TV switchover and the possible impact on Australian golf.

A brilliant chip-in for a par at the 17th. An exquisite pitch to the last after his drive had rolled into a divot and his approach was short. And, finally, a testing short putt that found nothing but net.

That final pitch, particularly, was the stroke of a player who possesses sound technique, strong self-belief and wonderful imagination. The type of shot you learn growing up in the middle of the famous sand belt, a half-wedge from the back fence of Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

In that environment, and as part of the Norman Generation, Ogilvy was inspired. A lot more Australians might now be inspired to watch him and his very talented contemporaries perform.

Interesting Observations From The 18th Grandstand

Reader Charlie Bell posted this below on the thread about initial thoughts on Sunday's play but I wanted to highlight it as it helps explain a few things about the fan reaction, and about the comments of Walter Driver in the championship ceremony. Thanks for sharing your observations Charlie

Insider's observations from someone who was in the left-hand bleachers on 18 for the last two hours. The experience was FAR MORE BIZARRE for us than it was for the players.

1) Few if any of the 4-6000 spectators in the 18th hole bleachers - including me - knew THE RESULTS of the tournament until more than 6-7 minutes after Phil's final putt. This is incomprehensible, but it is the truth. Because of the blackout on radios, cells, etc. not a single person in the left-hand side bleachers (2-3000) knew that his shot to the bunker was his 3rd rather than his second. I certainly didn't. When he missed the chip, there was no major groan and when he made his putt there was little consoling applause. We were convinced that he'd merely bogied, there'd be a playoff, and it was a tie-is-like-kissing-your-sister feeling in the crowd.

At no time was any buzz other than that of "Are you coming to the playoff tomorrow?" When we saw the awards tables being placed on the green we concluded that the USGA was going to offer thanks to all, announce the low amateur (Though we didn't think any survived the cut - puzzling), and announce the starting time and logistics of the playoff.

Only after the 4th sound-check (I'm assuming there was time for a dozen commercials) did we see Ogilvy emerge from the clubhouse. We still didn't even imagine that Phil had double-bogied. Around that time, the final leaderboard was updated (or at least someone on our side of the bleachers read it) and we began to speculate on what might have happened.

Another couple of minutes passed and Phil appeared, and everything at last came into focus. Many people had left the 18th green only to learn the outcome, we're sure, as they walked back to the shuttle bus pick up point. Indeed, we ourselves didn't learn the details of the Champions' tent, the tree limb, and the failed cut-slices until half an hour after it was over, as we debriefed others while waiting for the bus.

So for us, not only was the USGA's "course setup" atrocious for the fans, but our experience was actually even more surreal than that of Monty, Geoff, and Phil. We were witnessing history - and had no idea of the present!

2) Walter Driver pointedly said the Furyk and Monty would not be there to receive runner-up recogition because they had left the premises. Perhaps we shouldn'd read too much into it (after all, they figured they'd finish 3rd) but it seemed like a too-hasty departure and definitely diminished the occasion.

3) The greens were horribly bumpy. The fairways looked smoother (and faster!) than the 1st green, which we walked upon on our way out. Even being slow on Sunday the contours made them treacherous. We watched the 9th hole for a long time, and saw putt after putt misread or mis-hit. To make a par required truly superior golf.

U.S Open Reads: Late Monday Edition

us open icon.jpgSteve Elling with an excellent final day game story.

Dan Daly, who earlier in the week picked on players for whining, calls the Sunday setup and finish a train wreck.

This is what you get when you booby-trap Winged Foot the way the USGA does. Unforgiving fairways, ankle-high rough and postage-stamp greens -- coupled, of course, with U.S. Open pressure -- are a recipe for disaster.

Hunter Thompson considered the Kentucky Derby "decadent and depraved." Me, I'm beginning to wonder if the U.S. Open is un-American. I'm not saying this because the last three winners have been a South African, a New Zealander and now an Australian. I'm saying this because, well, America is about risk. It's about getting on a boat in 1620 with your malnourished family and scant belongings, sailing across the Atlantic to the New World and not being entirely sure you won't fall off the edge of the Earth. It's not about dialing back on your driver, trying to punch your ball into a narrow fairway, then hitting to the middle of the green and lagging your putt -- if you're lucky -- somewhere in the vicinity of the hole.

But this, alas, is what the Open has mutated into, a four-day Carnival of Caution that too often brings out the worst -- and the wuss -- in golfers. Sorry, but America isn't about breaking even, about level par. America is about loosening your top button and going for it. If America was about breaking even, the French franc would still be legal tender in New Orleans.
Andrew Gross believes Winged Foot lives up to the hype after only 12 sub-par rounds were played and quotes several players lauding the setup. 
"I think the course is hard, but it's playable," said Stewart Cink, who was 2-over for the day and 15-over 295 for the tournament. "I think it's the best setup the USGA has ever put up for us, and Winged Foot is the best course."

John Huggan says that Kenneth Ferrie justified the USGA's decision to hold a European Tour qualifier, even if 24 players didn't show up. And he gets in a fun joke about Ferrie's weight loss at the end.

An Advertiser story catches up with David Graham to hear his thoughts on Ogilvy's win.

Finally, Ed Sherman writes that the next U.S. Open coming to the midwest will likely not be in Chicago, but instead at the yet-to-open Erin HIlls. David Fay says "wow" about the course and offers this:

"My crystal ball isn't that good," Fay said when asked about Olympia Fields' chances. "We might have to say, `Olympia Fields, you had a successful U.S. Open, but we only have so many years.' We have a crowded dance floor now. It's a difficult thing to say no to a club that you know can host an Open. You don't want any bruised feelings."

"We were very impressed with the course," Fay said. "It's a great piece of land. It has the potential to be a very special place."

U.S. Open Reads: Early Monday Edition

us open icon.jpgDon't forget, if you want to send Geoff Ogilvy your congratulations, check out this post where you can do so. And if for some reason you need relive this site's live blog of the final round, the here's the link.

From Lawrence Donegan's game story: The tall, rangy Australian has been the best kept secret in the game for some time. No longer.

Mike Aiken focuses on Monty.

Doug Ferguson files the first of many Phil collapse stories, with a comparison of Phil's finish to Jean Van de Velde at Carnoustie.

David Ginsburg says Ogilvy was a bit lucky but also says that he deserves credit for positioning himself to be the beneficiary of some good fortune.

David Normoyle's behind the scenes journal at USOpen.com offers some great stuff about NBC's effort to interview Phil, a smooth last moment question by Bob Costas courtesy of an earpiece assist, and other great inside the ropes stuff you won't read elsewhere.

Mark Soltau has some insider tidbits from the locker room on the Golf Digest blog.

Golfonline has a nice slideshow of pictures, including a priceless shot of Vijay looking at Ian Poulter's all pink outfit.

If there was any doubt the media let us down this week, check out Seth Davis's report on the Ogilvy press conference.

Just sat in on Geoff Ogilvy's sparsely-attended winner's press conference. In fact, if you removed the Australian writers from the room, you would have probably had as many people in attendance if Tadd Fujikawa, the 15-year-old amateur from Hawaii, was the one holding forth.

I certainly don't say that to disparage Ogilvy. Not at all. He is the champion of the United States Open, and his name will be engraved on that trophy alongside the greatest who ever played the game. He is also no fluke. Ogilvy is ranked 17th in the world, he has won twice on the PGA Tour (including the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship earlier this year) and he was 5th on the PGA Tour's money list coming into the Open.

Matthew Rudy scores big points for taking on the USGA setup and questions the point of trainwreck golf. My Lord, someone in Wilton isn't afraid to tell it like it is!

But something is fundamentally wrong here. Players aren't encouraged to make decisions at a U.S. Open venue. They're encouraged to thread it down 25-yard-wide fairways, hit it to the middle of the green and hope that one of those 20-footers snakes in for birdie every once in awhile. Maybe you'll catch a lie in the rough. Maybe your ball will bury in the bunker. Maybe you'll make one more double than the guy in your pairing and you'll blow it all.

And finally, round 4's eye-opening stats:

Cost of rough on the 17th hole Sunday: -.086

Field's fairways hit Sunday: 46.1%

Cost of rough on the non-tiered rough holes: .507 (5), 943 (6), .356(11)

Fairway hit % on 15 Sunday: 23.8%

Ogilvy's Post Final Round Comments

First, Ogilvy's TV transcript:

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.

And now this really nice bit of information and insight, followed by a candidate for rallykiller of the year.
The greens here are so well designed, you've just got to play the hole backwards before you start. You've got to know if you're going to miss the tee shots you're going to miss the shots because they're narrow, extremely narrow. So if you're going to miss it, you've got to miss it on the correct side so you can run it up near the green to a spot where you're going to have a chance of getting it up and down.

On a good golf course you have to think backwards like that. Augusta National you have to think backwards. I like a golf course that makes you think that way. St. Andrews makes you do that.

I enjoy that aspect of golf, you know, just really plotting my way around there and thinking about it.

Q. You're going to be the first Australian since '95 to win a major.

Why would you want to get him to expand on those interesting thoughts when you can remind him for the ninth time that he's the first Aussie to win a major since Elk at Riviera!

And now, for the sit down with the writers and Rand Jerris hosting. We join in with him talking about 17, which NBC didn't show us much of.
17 is the birdiable one out of the throw. I hit a drive to the left, had a terrible lie off the fairway. At that point, after I hit my second shot there, I'm still in the long stuff 100 yards from the green, and it's not really looking very good here. Let's get some damage control and get in as good as you can.

I actually hit a pretty decent shot and missed the green, but pretty close to catching the slope and having a 10 or 12 footer. I was just hung up in the rough, and I thought now you're really done for.

My caddie, Squirrel, he said, "Just chip it in. Why don't you just chip it in (laughter)." You wait your whole life to have a chance to chip one in the last three holes of a major, but when you do it, it took me by surprise a little bit. You try to make it go in, but you don't expect it.

Then on 18, I thought, well, if I knew Monty had hit the fairway, and he was at 4 and I was at 5, I thought he's on the fairway, he's going to make a 4 or a 3. I started almost patting Monty on the back earlier. I thought it was pretty impressive because he was 1 under for the day at that point. That's pretty good golf right there.

Then I saw him three putt and I figured he made bogey. I thought, "Well, now Phil is the only one in front of me." I thought, "If you can get it close here and make birdie, you have a chance." I knew Phil had parred 17 before I even hit off the 18th tee.

Then hit a great shot, kind of ballooned a bit, but I still thought it was good. It was all over the pin and it needed to go forward another couple of feet, and I thought I had hit my career shot there. But it caught a soft bounce and came all the way back down the hill. And then I thought I was really done for. I mean, you're not going to do it from here.

I hit the chip shot that I had to hit and made the putt that I had to make. I thought, "Make this and come in second in the Open on your own. That's a pretty good result."

I was hitting that putt thinking this may get me in a playoff. I mean, I was pretty nervy over it, it was a pretty big putt. But I never thought Phil would make bogey at the last. He ended up making double, and it's got to be a hard one to swallow for Phil because he's obviously been the outstanding player at majors in the last eight or nine months. Ever since Augusta, he's been playing well in majors. The first time he won Augusta, he's been there most every time.

He's obviously worked out the major formula, he'll hit it on the green, make a par, make New York happy, but it worked out in my favor. Sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don't, and I'm glad it happened in the U.S. Open.

Q. Can you talk a bit about whether it helped playing with a pink Ian Poulter and whether that took some of the tension away from you?

GEOFF OGILVY: Well, what can you say? A guy turns up with a pink golf bag and pink pants. My caddie actually said, "What do you think Ian is going to wear tomorrow," because it's the last day of a major and you knew he was going to wear something that everybody notices. He's been quite calm with what he was wearing this week. It's all pink, the bag and everything. It kept the New Yorkers pretty happy. They had quite a bit to say. It was quite entertaining hearing what they were coming up with.

I guess in New York they're going to yell at somebody, and they tended to yell at the guy who's dressed in pink (laughter).

Q. Geoff, congratulations, mate. What do you think this will do for Australian golf and most of the other Australians in the field, most of them with their PGA TOUR card, particularly Australian golf?

GEOFF OGILVY: Hopefully Australians will win four majors in a row or something, who knows. Australian golf has been struggling the last two or three years. There's five different guys who have won already this year. That's pretty impressive for a country with 18 million people or 19 million people. Hard to explain why it's so good at the moment.

Again, it's a snowball effect. One guy plays well we all used to go to Europe, but now everyone seems to come here because this really is the only place to play at the end of the day if you want to prepare for the majors.

Now everyone is coming here it seems like to see if they can get in as part of golf on the U.S. Tour. I mean, I don't know, Australian golf is pretty strong at the moment. Hopefully we get a bunch of majors in the next four or five years. There's plenty of guys that can do it.

Q. Can you tell us where you were watching Phil play that last hole and what that scene was like for you?

GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, it was pretty surreal. How many times do you watch a telecast and you watch the guy who's just finished, watch the guy come up the last. I must have done it a thousand times, watching the guy watching the TV (laughter). And that was me (laughter).

I was watching it in the scorer's hut for most of it. I just signed my card and sat there. There was a TV in there. Then they moved me into the locker room because I guess probably give Phil a bit of space. He didn't want me sitting in his chair when he came into the scorer's hut. Then I got out there and watched the actual moment when Phil didn't chip it in in the locker room.

Q. You've won a major and your life is certainly going to change. How do you think you're going to cope with that?

GEOFF OGILVY: Hopefully well. Hopefully well. Hopefully I don't change at all. I mean, I'll be a more confident player and on my resume it looks better to know that I did it. Hopefully I don't change very much. I don't really want to. Hopefully I don't have a post bash major slump. I've never won a major so I don't know how I'm going to go from now on.

But I'm taking a bit of time off the next few weeks to get ready for Hoylake. It's going to actually be my next golf tournament actually. A few weeks to think about it, let it sink in. British Open is one of my favorite tournaments in the world. Hopefully I can play well there again.

Q. Forgive me, but I didn't get a chance to see that chip on 17. Can you just kind of set it up for me, exactly where the ball stopped and how many feet you were shooting at and what the loft was on the club?
Holy cow! A writer asking forgiveness for not having seen the action. A first!
GEOFF OGILVY: It was my lob wedge, 60 degrees. It was in the semi rough, not the heavy stuff, but it was kind of near the heavy rough. The heavy stuff was kind of four inches behind my ball, which made it a little bit more awkward than you'd want it. It was a 30 foot chip shot, 25 foot chip shot, downhill, left to right. I put about four putts on the back nine that looked like they were going in and they missed low, dived low right at the end. This chip shot looked low the whole way. I thought it was going to miss low the whole way, and for some bizarre reason, it hung on and went in. It's just, wow. You try to chip it in, but when it does go in, it's pretty surprising.

Q. Was it from the front right?

GEOFF OGILVY: I was chipping from just short of pin high left.

And finally...

Q. Which club did you grow up playing at?

GEOFF OGILVY: The first bunch of golf I ever played was at Sandringham Golf Course, which is the golf course across the road from Royal Melbourne. You turn right in the gate of Royal Melbourne, you turn left to go to Royal Ann. You'd pay eight bucks to play there on Saturdays. Then I joined Cheltenham Golf Club, which is right next door to Victoria Golf Club, which is the golf course I'm still a member of today.

Q. Talk about your mental process and how it's improved over the years. Can you pinpoint why and what happened to help you in that process?

GEOFF OGILVY: There was not like a lightbulb, it wasn't like an epiphany or anything. It was just a gradual realization that for the most part the best players out here are the best because they're the best up here. It's just the maturing process. If you're at 18, you don't want to hear that; you just want to hear you've got to hit the ball good and then it'll take care of itself. You go through and you play with guys, you do it yourself, you kind of self destruct and you get down on yourself.

And then you play with guys and see it from another perspective and see another guy self destruct and kind of get in his own way, if you like. The longer you play, you get older and wiser and smarter and start realizing that it's not very constructive to have anything but an exemplary attitude.

Tiger Woods is the best golfer in the world because he's got the best brain. He hits the ball well, but there's plenty of guys that hit the ball well. But he's got the best head. He's probably got the second best head in history next to Jack, and it might turn out that Tiger's might be more impressive than Jack's. Nicklaus' was obviously the best because his brain was the best, no doubt.

You just slowly come across the realization that you'd better be smarter about it, I guess. I don't know.

Mickelson's Post Final Round Comments

From ASAP:

Q. Talk about the disappointment that you must be feeling.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I still am in shock that I did that. I just can't believe that I did that. I am such an idiot. I just couldn't hit a fairway all day. I just couldn't hit a fairway all day.

I tried to go to my bread and butter shot, a baby carve slice on 18 and just get it in the fairway, and I missed it left. It was still okay, wasn't too bad. I just can't believe I couldn't par the last hole. It really stings.

As a kid I dreamt of winning this tournament. I came out here and worked hard all four days, haven't made a bogey all week and then bogeyed the last hole. Even a bogey would have gotten me into a playoff. I just can't believe I did that.

Q. What happened on the second shot? What was your lie like?

PHIL MICKELSON: I had a good lie. I had to hit a big carving slice around the tree and over cut it, just like I over cut the tee shot and some of the other shots. Obviously, in hindsight, if I hit it in the gallery and it doesn't cut, I am fine. I can still make bogey, even par. I ended up hitting the tree.

Q. You were trying to go around the tree, not over it?

PHIL MICKELSON: Around, yeah.

Q. When it didn't clear, what ran through your mind when you didn't do that?

PHIL MICKELSON: Again, I just couldn't believe it.

Q. Was there something that was right in your eye?

PHIL MICKELSON: I was far enough back where I could move it around and get it up on the green, or certainly by it. I had a nice lie and just over cut it, just cut too quick right in the tree.

And you have to love his honesty...

Q. The second shot on 18, how close was that to being a perfect shot, maybe a foot or two?

PHIL MICKELSON: No, it wasn't that close. It over cut quite a bit. It had to go through it. Instead it hit a branch and went right back at me.

And this could get the award for most ridiculous question:

Q. About the Open, you weren't the only one who had trouble coming down the stretch. Colin double bogeyed the last hole, as well. What is it about the Open that creates such anxiety with you guys?

If I'm Phil, I just say sayonara at that point. He's a Saint for continuing...

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it's a hard test of golf. I mean, it's just hard. Fairways are tight, they're brick hard. I hit two good 4 irons right in the middle of the fairway, on 15, on 11. Neither one stayed in the fairway. I mean, they were perfect 4 irons in the middle of the fairway. It's just hard to hit fairways here, and I made it look extremely difficult.

Q. We know that every U.S. Open course pinches the fairways and grows the rough. Do you feel that Winged Foot may be our toughest U.S. Open venue because of the severe contours of the greens?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know why it has played out as the toughest venue, but it certainly is the toughest U.S. Open venue we play, and the scores certainly reflect that.

Montgomerie's Post Final Round Comments

A bizarre session between Monty and the media:

Q. Talk about the last hole.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Thank you, yeah. The last hole I played was 17 actually, so that was good (laughter). 17 was a drive outright and a 5 iron through the trees and a 40 foot putt. That was the last hole of golf I played.

Q. How difficult was this?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: This is as difficult as it gets. You wonder sometimes why you put yourself through this. I doubled the last there and Phil holed a very good putt to double the last. It's a very tricky hole, but it shouldn't be that tricky from the fairway. I did the hard thing, hit the fairway. That's my strength normally. I hit the wrong club for my second shot. We put ourselves into poor position after two shots, and then it was difficult from then on because that green is very fast.

Geoff holed a great putt for a par to avoid a four way playoff there, and all credit to him. He was the last man standing, really. It was the last man in.

At my age I've got to think positively. I'm 43 next week, and it's nice I can come back to this tournament and do well again, and I look forward to coming back here again next year and try another U.S. Open. Disaster (laughter).

And a little more sarcasm...
Q. Did thoughts of a victory come to you once you made that great putt at 17?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, you don't think about winning when you're one ahead with one to play, no (laughter).

Q. What was the yardage on the second shot

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not at all, no thoughts of victory at all. I was just having a Sunday game, just a game with Vijay, just a few thousand people watching, that was all (laughter).

Q. Yardage on the second shot at 18?


Q. Did you switch club?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I switched from a 6 to a 7. I thought adrenaline would kick in. I usually hit the ball ten yards further in that circumstance. I caught it slightly heavy and it went slightly right. It was a poor shot, no question about that, and I put myself into poor position.

Q. You referred to this as a disaster, and yet the winner is 5 over par. Would you say it was a fair test of golf?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Very fair test of golf. Par means nothing, it's the total that counts, and 285 is actually a very good score around here. It's a very demanding test, the most demanding test we've ever had, and 285 is a great score because actually it's par 72 anyway. There's no problem with plus 5, no. I think the USGA set the course up very well, and all credit to them.