Ogilvy comfy on A list

IAN HUTCHINSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:00 AM ET

Calgary's Stephen Ames was supposed to be in town today to help announce the players who will take part in the 2006 Telus Skins Game, but those plans got blown apart by the wind at Harbour Town yesterday.

The Verizon Heritage resumes this morning after being postponed yesterday with Ames four shots off the lead, but it's a no-brainer that he will be the Canadian/Trinidad connection to a Skins Game that will have a global theme when it is played June 18-19 at Raven at Lora Bay near Collingwood.

Speculation has it that when the field for the Skins Game is announced today, it will include he winners of three of the past six U.S. Opens, meaning South Africa will be covered with 2001 and '04 champ Retief Goosen.

There also looks to be an Aussie in the field with Geoff Ogilvy, who defends his 2006 U.S. Open title in June at Oakmont, just before heading to Collingwood.

Given the event's world theme, one would assume a European will also be named, as well as an American not named Tiger Woods. Whoever is named today, the made-for-TV friendly will have some big names that Ogilvy didn't think he would be among.

"People are like: 'Hey Geoff, can you sign this?' as opposed to 'Hey you, can you sign this?'" said Ogilvy of life after winning the U.S. Open.

CONFIDENCE PEAKS

His anonymity may be shot, but his confidence has reached a new level.

"I feel like I'm a better player, maybe. I have a bit more belief," said Ogilvy, who was tied for 48th when play was suspended yesterday at Harbour Town.

"I always felt like I was a decent player, but I feel like I'm a better player relative to other people. I'd always look at other people and think: 'He's playing better than me,' but now, I think that I'm actually all right."

Ogilvy has three top-10s so far this year, two of them in World Golf Championships events, including a second at the Accenture Match Play, a tournament he won last year prior to his victory at the Open.

Still, he didn't believe he could go over the top in a major, even as he was signing his card at Winged Foot.

Actually, nobody was really giving much thought to Ogilvy taking a huge step up in his career until Phil Mickelson suffered one of the most memorable meltdowns in major championship history.

Mickelson went to the 16th hole at Winged Foot with a two-shot lead, but bogeyed to set up the comedy of errors that followed his arrival at the 72nd hole of the tournament with a one-shot lead.

To relive the botched drive, his cut shot that hit a tree and a buried lie that all added up to double bogey would be painful for not only Mickelson, but anyone with a heart who witnessed that train wreck. The bottom line is that Ogilvy earned a one-shot win over Mickelson, Colin Montgomerie and Jim Furyk.

Even as those bizarre circumstances were unfolding on the 18th, Ogilvy wasn't thinking win, but maybe playoff the next day.

"People might not believe this, but I thought that when I made the last putt, I could make a playoff here," Ogilvy said. "I was thinking about changing my hotel, changing the flights and such ridiculously stupid stuff while I was sitting there thinking: 'Geez, he might make bogey and I might make a playoff for the U.S. Open.'

"I thought it was an even-money chance. I never thought about winning it that day. That didn't even enter my mind."

History will remember the Mickelson meltdown more than the eventual winner, but cut Ogilvy a break. He obeyed the unofficial rule of tournament golf that says you worry about yourself, not the other guy, and if the leader backs up, so be it. Those who spout cliches call it playing within yourself.

Ogilvy did what was necessary to stay within reach of Mickelson, recording four pars on the last four holes -- including a chip-in on No. 17 -- as Mickelson went into reverse.

"It was strange," said Ogilvy. "I'm glad I did what I did on the last few holes and it all worked out. I could have done that and I could have finished third.

"I didn't stand on the 15th tee and say: 'If I par these last four holes, I'm going to win.' But: 'If you can make four pars, you've had a really good U.S. Open and you never know what's going to happen.'"

What did happen has placed Ogilvy on the A list, a place he is growing more comfortable with every day.


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