Ogilvy there to pick up the pieces


The AssociatedPress
Phil Mickelson reacts after missing his bogey chip shot on the 18th green during the final round of the U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. Sunday. Adouble bogey cost Mickelson the title.

AP National Writer

MAMARONECK, N.Y. — For one stunning hole, Phil Mickelson went back in time, letting go of all the self restraint and discipline that transformed him into a major tournament champion and silenced all his critics.
It cost him the U.S. Open.
Next, the world waits to see which Phil shows up in a month in England.
“This one is going to take a little while to get over,” Mickelson said Sunday after collapsing on the 72nd hole at Winged Foot. “This one is pretty disappointing.”
Mickelson’s transgressions made a winner of Geoff Ogilvy and brought back memories of the Lefty of old, the happy-go-lucky guy who took too many chances and made too many mistakes.
Those were the days before Mickelson won his three majors, before he acknowledged that you can’t simply grip it and rip it, no matter how much fun that may be and how much the fans might love it.
He lost this one by hitting driver on No. 18, when he desperately needed to keep the ball straight. Then, after that shot went far to the left, he went for the green, hoping to save par, instead of taking a safer route that might have resulted in a bogey and a playoff.
From ahead by one on the 18th tee to losing by one in the clubhouse, tied for second with Colin Montgomerie and Jim Furyk.
From a chance for a third straight major to a spot next to Jean Van de Velde in the pantheon of major meltdowns.
Mickelson said he would go home and rest for a while; majors have always taken a lot out of him. He conceded it will take a lot of healing to be ready for the British Open at Royal Liverpool a month from now.
“The biggest reason it’s disappointing is that this is the tournament I dreamed of winning as a kid, that I spent countless hours practicing, came out weeks and weeks and months early to get ready and had it right there in my hands,” Mickelson said.
Ogilvy, meanwhile, got his first major championship not only thanks to Mickelson’s mistake, but to his own solid play through four days on a brutal Winged Foot course that yielded only 12 sub-par rounds all week.
The 29-year-old Aussie shot 2-over 72 to finish at 5-over 275. He became the first U.S. Open winner not to break par since Andy North in 1978 at Cherry Hills.
“I think I was the beneficiary of a little bit of charity,” Ogilvy said.
But make no mistake. Ogilvy did plenty of solid work to get in position to have this handed to him.
On the 17th hole, he chipped in from the gnarled greenside rough to save par and stay at 5 over. On 18, he hit a perfect drive up the fairway, only to see it come to rest in a divot — the ultimate bad break on a course that was already tough enough. His approach lost power as it reached the green, tumbled down the hill, but he made a great up-and-down to save par.
Then, from the clubhouse, Ogilvy saw Mickelson make the kind of mistakes most people thought were behind him.
He chose driver over his 4-wood on the tee, feeling that a driver that would curve a little to the left had been his “bread-and-butter shot” over the last 21/2 years, during which he has morphed from the 0-for-42-in-the-majors guy to the primary threat to Tiger Woods.
That shot sliced so far left, it landed near the hospitality tents called The Champion’s Pavilion, into the matted rough. Instead of hitting a safe shot and trying to guarantee at least a bogey and a playoff with Ogilvy, he went for the green and hit a tree. A branch knocked down his ball and it advanced only 25 yards.
From there, desperation set in.
Mickelson’s third shot sailed left of the green and buried in the bunker, plugged so badly that all he could do was hope to get out, not get close to the hole. He blasted out, across the green and into more rough. Then, with one last chance to save the tournament, he chipped 8 feet past the hole.
The last putt gave him double bogey and dropped him to a tie for second with Jim Furyk and Montgomerie.
“I just can’t believe that I did that,” Mickelson said. “I am such an idiot.”
Before Mickelson gave it away, it appeared Montgomerie would be the tournament’s poster child for missed opportunity. Like Mickelson, Monty headed into 18 at 4 over, tied for the lead. Unlike Mickelson, Montgomerie hit a perfect drive before his decision-making went awry.
Sitting perfectly in the fairway from 172 yards away, the 42-year-old Scot decided at the last minute to swap his 6-iron for a 7.
“I thought the adrenaline would kick in and I hit it about 10 yards further in that circumstance,” Monty said.
The ball fell about 10 yards short, into the rough short of the green. Four shots later, Montgomerie had double bogey. He fell to 0-for-58 in the majors.
“Other chances I’ve had, other players have done very well,” Montgomerie said. “This is the first time I’ve really messed up, which is OK. You’re entitled to a couple of mess-ups along the way.”
This Open, however, will be remembered more for Mickelson’s late foul-up than for Montgomerie’s.
And now the debate will begin over whether Mickelson outdid Van de Velde, the Frenchman who made triple bogey on the last hole of the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie to fall into a tie.
Van de Velde at least got to a playoff before his hopes were officially dashed. Mickelson had no such luck. He simply cupped his hands over his cap and walked away in defeat, knowing there’s only about a month to get over it and tee it up at the British Open.
“I had it right there and I let it go,” Mickelson said, “and I cannot believe I did that.”


Old Phil returns at Open

AP Sports Writer

MAMARONECK — His million-dollar talent was undermined one more time by a temperament that wasn’t worth a dime.
Remember the Phil Mickelson who waited for the critical moment in the biggest tournaments to try shot after reckless shot, seemingly for no other reason than to prove it could be done?
Well, he’s back.
“I still am in shock I did that,” Mickelson said after making a double bogey 6 on the final hole to lose the U.S. Open on Sunday. “I just can’t believe that I did that. I am such an idiot.”
He’ll get no argument on that.
Over Mickelson’s shoulder, no more than a wedge shot away, the shadows began creeping across the 18th green at Winged Foot. There, Aussie Geoff Ogilvy held up the gleaming silver trophy and watched the last bit of light glisten off its surface.


Oilers not fazed by daunting task

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Edmonton Oilers clearly need a refresher course in Hockey History 101.
Only one team has overcome a 3-1 deficit in the Stanley Cup finals. Only two have won Game 7 on the road with the silver trophy at stake. Only three have come back to win the championship after starting with two losses.
The Oilers don’t seem the least bit concerned about overcoming all those daunting challenges.
“We have not followed too many rules in this postseason,” center Shawn Horcoff said Sunday, on the eve of the biggest game of his life. “I know we’ve been the underdog in most people’s minds. But we really believe we can get this thing done.”
Indeed, Edmonton is one win away from pulling off one of the most remarkable surprises in playoff history.
The Oilers are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes at three games apiece. Game 7 is Monday night in Raleigh.