16 Sep 2020 | Professional golf |

Ogilvy on Phil, Monty, Bones and Winged Foot

by Martin Blake

Geoff Ogilvy Phil Mickelson 2006 US Open_image
Geoff Ogilvy and Phil Mickelson at the 2006 US Open at Winged Foot. (Photo: Getty Images)

Fourteen years ago Geoff Ogilvy became a major champion. It was at Winged Foot, just outside of New York City, in 2006, and the Australian won a last-man-standing contest by a shot.

Ogilvy had grown up in the golfing heartland of Melbourne’s sandbelt, riding his bike straight from school to Cheltenham Golf Club’s nine-hole links to pursue his passion.

As an adult, he’d become an artist with a wedge in his hand, one of the best players in the world.

It’s a pity that on the day he painted his magnum opus, people were distracted by events elsewhere.

They were watching Phil, and watching Monty, and witnessing train wrecks.

Listen to Geoff's chat on Inside The Ropes from 07:50...

Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie both took double bogey six at Winged Foot’s par-four 18th hole that afternoon to lose the Open. In both cases, they proved to be hugely significant. Montgomerie never won a major; Mickelson still has not won his homeland Open in more than 20 years of trying.

But to define that US Open only by the failures of individuals is to overly simplify it. And it is disrespectful to Ogilvy, who at one point was the No. 3 player in the world, and a winner of three World Golf Championships and an Australian Open.

Ogilvy needed to chip in at the 71st hole to save par, and then make an up-and-down at the difficult 18th hole after his beautiful drive found a sandy divot in the fairway, to get the win.

The Australian reflected on this in 2017 for ‘Inside The Ropes’, Golf Australia’s podcast.

He talked of runner-up Mickelson’s good grace in the aftermath: “Don’t feel guilty. It’s nothing to do with you.”

And of a conversation with his then neighbour, Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay, who was on Mickelson’s bag as the great American lefty butchered the 72nd-hole. “Bones came home that night or the next day, and said … ‘Phil is 100 percent convinced that the guy who wins a golf tournament always hits a historic, amazing shot. If he tries to hit it and pulls it off, he’s gonna win, and if he tries to hit it and doesn’t pull it off, then it wasn’t his week anyway’.’’

He recalled that Montgomerie, whose double bogey came from the centre of the fairway, had narrowly evaded arrest afterward. “He bumped into a policeman with his head down. I guess the policeman said ‘oh, watch where you’re going?’ Monty apparently flared up at him before he realised it was a policeman. 

“And apparently they were pretty close to getting him in handcuffs that night. He was great about it later on. But at the time it wasn’t a great time to talk to Monty!’’

The US Open returns to Winged Foot this week which makes it an appropriate time to cast back to Ogilvy’s greatest triumph.

Take a listen. Ogilvy has been regarded for some time as one of the best interviews in golf. It’s well worth it.

Relive the highlights as Geoff wins the US Open...

Highlights: Geoff Ogilvy wins the 2006 US Open

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