Commentary

Ogilvy, Woods put 'move' in Moving Day

Originally Published: June 6, 2009
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

DUBLIN, Ohio -- To say Geoff Ogilvy was a tad on the annoyed side would be akin to suggesting that Jack Nicklaus was a pretty good golfer.

The amiable Aussie stomped off Nicklaus' Muirfield Village course early Friday evening in the kind of mood that typically clears a wide path. He had made a double bogey at the 17th hole and followed it with a bogey at the 18th, so he tossed a club and then did a slow burn on the driving range.

"I finished in an ambulance," he said.

It was the kind of day that typically sends golfers to their psychologists and at another time in his career might have seen Ogilvy put a hurt on his golf bag.

"Carrying on like I did at moments yesterday, I must have looked very silly," Ogilvy said Saturday. "I didn't feel very good about myself. It's just not a nice way -- you're just not in a good frame of mind for a few hours. What you're doing, it's not very nice. It was one of those days.

"I just sat down in the hotel. And [I hit] quite a few balls last night just to chill out a bit. Every now and then, it just builds up to a point you realize … hang on a minute. Let's get back to reality here."

Saturday was hardly real, however. Not when you head out 4½ hours ahead of the leaders in 57th place and make nine birdies to shoot the lowest third round in the history of the Memorial Tournament by carding a 63. His score was the low round of the day by 5 strokes.

"I didn't see that out there," said Tiger Woods, who shot 68 and tied for the second-lowest round Saturday to move into contention. "Did he play all 18 holes?"

He did, including the 18th, where Ogilvy holed out a bunker shot for his final birdie of the day, moving him into the lead for a time before settling for a fifth-place tie. Ogilvy ended the day just 2 strokes back of rookie Matt Bettencourt -- who has yet to finish among the top 20 in a tournament this year -- and two-time tour winner Mark Wilson.

Ogilvy, 31, went 11 shots lower than his Friday 74 and gave him a chance to win for the third time this year. He has victories already at the Mercedes-Benz Championships and the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Since then, Ogilvy's best finish was a tie for sixth at the Shell Houston Open. He has no other top-10s in 2009.

He'll have to contend with a slew of challengers, including Jim Furyk; Davis Love III, who would be able to skip a 36-hole sectional qualifier for the U.S. Open on Monday with a victory; and Woods, who was also coming off a 74. Woods' second-round score was his highest on the PGA Tour since the second round of the 2007 British Open.

Best Ball Challenge

"I got myself back in the tournament," said Woods, who is tied for seventh, 4 strokes back, after starting the day tied for 24th. "That was the idea starting out, to give myself a chance on Sunday."

Of his 63 stroke-play victories on the PGA Tour (he's won 66 overall), Woods has won 19 coming from behind after 54 holes. The last was in March at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he made up a 5-stroke deficit on Sean O'Hair and won with a dramatic birdie putt on the 72nd hole.

Since then, he tied for sixth at the Masters after a final-round 68, finished fourth at the Quail Hollow Championship and missed a playoff by 2 strokes after a final-round 72. And last month, playing in the final twosome with Alex Cejka at the Players Championship, Woods began the round 5 strokes behind but shot 73 and finished eighth. (Henrik Stenson won.)

"I have to play well; that's the difference between being out front and trailing," Woods said. "If you're out front, you play poorly; getting off to a poor start, you can still win the golf tournament. If you're trailing and you get off to a poor start, you can play yourself out of the golf tournament. I need to get off to a better start like I did today, get it going early, and see where it puts me throughout the day."

A year ago, Woods was among the few who knew that his season was in peril. He had hoped to play the Memorial Tournament following arthroscopic knee surgery just two days after the Masters, but he learned a week before this tournament in 2008 that he had suffered stress fractures in his left leg.

"I practiced way too hard to get ready for this event," he said. "That's when I broke it."

Of course, a few weeks later, all of that made his U.S. Open victory even more remarkable. That was his 14th major title, but then he shut it down for the year because of knee surgery.

This is Woods' final prep for the U.S Open in two weeks at Bethpage Black, but he is not the only player with the second major on his mind. Wilson, like Love, can avoid qualifying Monday with a victory.

Ogilvy did not play when the U.S. Open was last at Bethpage Black in 2002, when Woods won his second major in a row and seventh out of 11. The Aussie -- who won the 2006 U.S. Open -- visited the New York course on Monday.

"If they play it off the back tees, it's going to be historically long," Ogilvy said. "It's a really long course for the back tees. I mean, it's incredible."

So, for that matter, was his third round here.

"It was really nice," Ogilvy said. "When I missed fairways, it wasn't that bad. When I missed a couple of greens, like on 18, it was just a really nice spot.

"It's one of those days that makes you wonder why you find it so hard sometimes."

Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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