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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2006 > PGA Tour > US Open > Round 4


Good fortunes benefit Geoff Ogilvy

Geoff Ogilvy watched the drama unfold on the 18th hole while sitting in the scorer's hut, pondering his fate with almost every shot.

The Australian figured he was destined to finish behind Phil Mickelson, who stepped to the 18th tee early Sunday evening needing only a par 4 to win. Ogilvy could almost envision the huge crowd at Winged Foot cheering in delight for the obvious fan favorite.

This is what Ogilvy remembers thinking would happen:

"He'll hit the green, make par, make New York happy."

This is what did happen:

Mickelson made a double bogey, and Ogilvy became champion of the 106th U.S. Open.

"I think I was the beneficiary of a little bit of charity. I think I got a bit lucky," Ogilvy said.

At the end, perhaps. But give Ogilvy credit for getting in position to win it. He chipped in on 17 for par and made a 6-foot putt on 18 for another par. On this day, par for the course was enough to win the tournament.

Ogilvy will soon have his engraved on a trophy that already has the names of golf legends Bob Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. Yet, years from now, when people think about this U.S. Open, it's unlikely they'll talk about Ogilvy's 18-foot chip on 17 or his recovery from a iron shot that rolled back off the green on 18.

They'll talk about Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie giving it away with double bogeys on the last hole.

The 29-year-old Ogilvy knows this. But that won't lessen the pride in becoming the first Australian to win a major in 11 years, and the first Aussie to win the U.S. Open since David Graham in 1981.

For someone who grew up idolizing Greg Norman, winning the U.S. Open is quite a big deal.

"Every Australian who grew up watching golf in the '80s and '90s, watching Greg play, it became pretty apparent the majors were a pretty big deal," Ogilvy said. "If it wasn't for Greg, we might not have an appreciation for how big these things really are."

Norman made his share of huge shots, but often only to watch someone outdo him in the majors. On this occasion, Ogilvy came up with a once-in-a-lifetime chip on 17, then saw the breaks go his way.

Stuck in the rough on 17, Ogilvy was wondering what the heck to do when his caddie whispered, "Why don't you just chip it in?"

Ogilvy did just that.

"Just scary. I mean, a shot that you wait your whole life to chip it in, in a situation like that when you need to," he said, "and then you do."

And now he's the U.S. Open champion.

The fans who cheered all week for Mickelson probably would have settled for seeing Montgomerie win his first major. But Ogilvy? He had played in only two U.S. Opens, missing the cut in 2003 and tying for 28th last year at Pinehurst. He seemed about as likely to win this tournament as he was to sit down with President Bush at a White House dinner.

Which is exactly what happened recently.

Bush, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Rupert Murdoch and Julie Eisenhower were among those who sat with Ogilvy, a distant relative of Sir Angus Ogilvy, a member of Britain's Royal Family.

Geoff Ogilvy still doesn't know the exact reason he was invited, but he did manage to hold his own among such prestigious company.

Sort of like this week at Winged Foot.



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