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Thrash Talk: A Win for Winged Foot


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By Cody Thrasher via TheSandTrap.com
The U.S. Open was awesome this past weekend, and I'm here to break it down.

tt_title.gifGeoff Ogilvy is the U.S. Open champion! How many people would have guessed that after the young Aussie trailed Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie by a shot with two holes left? Ogilvy then backed himself into a corner at the 71st hole before boldly chipping in to save par. Still, it looked like he was headed for a third-place finish at best.



That's when the wheels of fate began to turn. A wild collapse from Monty and Lefty mixed with a gutsy up-and-down at the 72nd hole for Ogilvy combined to give the golf world a brand new major champion. The young Aussie is quickly turning into one of the world's best, and this major won't be the only one in his career when it's all said and done.

Since Ogilvy's win at Winged Foot two days ago, I keep hearing the same thing: Phil Mickelson choked and lost the tournament. Colin Montgomerie gave the tournament away. Jim Furyk should have forced a playoff of his own. Make no mistake about it, Geoff Ogilvy won the 106th U.S. Open. Golf fans everywhere are saying these other guys gave the title to Ogilvy, but that's far from the truth.



There are a handful of topics I want to discuss after watching a lot of golf this past weekend, and this notion of Ogilvy getting lucky is definitely one of them. Was this Monty's last run at a major? How can so many top golfers falter late? Those are just some of the things I'm going to touch on, so read on to find out what I thought about the U.S. Open this past weekend.



Geoff Ogilvy's Win
I know golf fans will continue to call this a Phil Mickelson "loss" more than a Geoff Ogilvy "win," but that's not the way it should be. I'm here to give Ogilvy some credit. This win elevates the Aussie to new heights, and it shows that he is definitely one of the top five or ten golfers in the world right now (Ed: the win moves him to #8 in the world).



geoff_ogilvy_us_open_trophy.jpgAs for his win at Winged Foot, it goes like this. Every golfer played the same course this past week. Geoff Ogilvy could have hit a bad drive on the 72nd hole just like Mickelson did. However, Ogilvy hit a very good tee shot, even though the ball ended up in a sand-filled divot. This could have caused him to lose his cool and bogey the hole, but he kept it together and saved par.



The same can be said for Monty and Lefty. Both guys made terrible swings (or two in Phil's case) at the 72nd hole and paid the price. They didn't get the job done, simple as that. Ogilvy finished at +5 after 72 holes, and Montgomerie and Mickelson finished at +6 after 72 holes. That's a win for Ogilvy any way you slice it. It all comes down to execution in any tournament, and it's obvious who executed the best this past weekend at Winged Foot.



It's really unfortunate for Ogilvy that his win will have an asterisk next to it in the minds of many. Phil Mickelson made a stupid decision and crumbled as a result. It was his choice, and it could have happened to anyone. Golf fans need to understand that, and they need to give credit where it's due. Quit talking about Lefty, and start talking about the only 20-something male golfer with a major championship to his name.



Monty's Last Run?
There was a large part of me pulling for Colin Montgomerie this past Sunday. After all he has been through in major championships, it would have been nice to see him hoist the trophy in victory. Unfortunately for Monty, it wasn't his time to shine. A lot of fans were surprised to see the Scot in contention once again, including myself. I didn't think he had the patience to make it through 72 grueling holes at Winged Foot, but I was wrong.



You can take it to the bank that Monty will be in contention at major championships in the future. This definitely wasn't his last run at a major. Montgomerie will be 43 years old later this week, and he still has a lot of good golf left. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he is back in contention next month at the British Open.



Some fans may think the U.S. Open was Monty's last run, but I saw him playing great golf for three and a half days (the front nine on Saturday was ugly). I don't see any reason to believe he is washed up when it comes to major championships. If anything, Montgomerie should have the confidence to contend once again. This experience should revive his spirit and put him in the thick of things a few more times before his career is over. And yes, he will win one before he is finished.



Top Golfers Struggle Late
Even though I truly believe Geoff Ogilvy won the U.S. Open this past weekend, I was still in shock to see so many top golfers throw a possible playoff out the window. I actually felt like I had just played 18 holes myself and was completely exhausted after watching all the action unfold.



jim_furyk_2006_memorial.jpgJim Furyk played as well as anyone during the final round. I picked Furyk before the event started, so I was also pulling for him to win. He is one of my favorites and is usually cold-blooded down the stretch. Furyk was solid during the final round until the last few holes.



Most fans may talk about his missed four-foot putt at the 18th hole, but I'm more focused on his crappy birdie putt at the 15th hole just an hour earlier. I thought Furyk had a chance to make the 25-footer, but he left it 12 foot short instead. His missed par putt only served to deflate him further. I was more shocked by that first putt than any other shot he hit the entire weekend.



Another great story would have unfolded if Padraig Harrington picked up the win on Father's Day. Harrington lost his father shortly after the U.S. Open last year. It would have been great to see him win his first major championship on such a meaningful day. Unfortunately for Harrington, that wasn't in the cards. The Irishman struggled down the stretch and bogeyed three in a row to finish two shots behind Ogilvy.



I've already talked about Monty and Lefty, so I won't go into that again. The golf course definitely took its toll on the world's best this past weekend, and survival was the key term on Sunday. The U.S. Open is the greatest tournament of all, and it truly left its mark on a number of the world's best this year. That's what makes Ogilvy's win even more special.



Winning Score and Johnny Miller
The winning score was the highest by far since I began watching the U.S. Open in the mid-90s. After watching the footage of the 1974 Massacre at Winged Foot, it was hard for me to believe the winning score this year was only two shots better than the winning score back then. The golf course didn't look as hard as some on television, but it really showed its teeth.



The winning score of +5 was just fine, however. As I mentioned in The Sand Trap forum, it shouldn't really matter what the winning score is. As long as everyone plays the same course, it doesn't matter to me if the winning score is +10 or -10. I actually enjoy seeing golfers grind their way to an even-par finish or worse. It's refreshing after seeing the world's best shoot 60s and 61s at other tournaments throughout the year.



I have to finish my U.S. Open aftermath by mentioning Johnny Miller. Everyone loves to hate Miller for his straight-forward expressions. I, on the other hand, relate to Miller and enjoy listening to him. We don't need to baby these professional golfers. They are big boys and should be told when they hit a bad shot. Golf fans all over the Internet like to second-guess the decisions of golfers every week. The only difference is Johnny Miller gets to do it on national television. He is refreshing for me to listen to because a lot of the things he says is in agreement with my thoughts as well.



The Final Say
The U.S. Open at Winged Foot was really intriguing, even without the presence of Tiger Woods on the weekend. It would have been even better if Mr. Woods would have made the cut, but it's nice to see the golf world cling to other favorites along the way.



I get the feeling at times that golf would die out if Tiger suddenly quit, but after watching this past weekend, I'm confident that it would be just fine. That being said, golf fans everywhere still want Tiger to get ready and contend at next month's British Open. Tiger needs to return and get his fans back because a lot of them seem to be jumping on the Phil Mickelson train.



That's all I have to say this week, and it's your turn to tell me what you think. How would you assess the 106th U.S. Open? Did Ogilvy win the tournament, or did Phil and Monty lose it? Finally, will Monty have another run at a major championship, or was this his last chance? If you have anything to add, feel free to comment below or discuss it in the forum. Thanks for reading Thrash Talk this week!



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