Ogilvy, Stenson definitely worth watching
MARANA, Ariz. -- I know, I know. Geoff Ogilvy is playing Henrik Stenson in the WGC-Accenture Match Play final and you don't care. Or you care, but not enough to watch. Or you care enough to watch, but not enough to watch 36 holes.
It's OK. You're not alone. Once Tiger Woods was eliminated from the field on Friday, plenty of golf widows out there were all of a sudden getting their husbands to start working on that honey-do list this weekend without much of a fight.
Now that the red (shirt) alert is over and the streak-that-wasn't-a-streak is a thing of the past, we're back to life as usual, watching golf tournaments without the federally mandated mention of the world's top-ranked player every 8.3 seconds. It's like a directive has finally subsided:
This has been a Tiger Woods Special Report. We now return you to our regularly scheduled PGA Tour season.
Hey, good for you guys. I get it. You enjoy watching the big names. You like seeing the best players compete against each other and anything less is a snoozefest.
Well, you know what? These are some of the world's best players. Just because Geoff and Henrik aren't known universally by their first names alone, just because both can go to Starbucks without summoning the Secret Service, just because neither commutes to events by Gulfstream II jet, doesn't mean they aren't incredibly proficient at hitting that little white ball into a 4.25-inch wide hole in the ground.
Look, if a wild card team can win the World Series and Rex Grossman can quarterback in a Super Bowl, then this is hardly the breaking point of championship sports inefficiency during the past year.
Think about it: These guys aren't in the upper echelon of global superstars, but they're pretty damn close. How good are they? Entering this week, Stenson was ranked eighth in the world and Ogilvy was 11th. Each has a chance to leapfrog the likes of Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen and Ernie Els into the top-five on the list, which puts them in with some pretty heady company.
They're not "fluky-good," either. These are genuine, bona fide winners. Stenson beat Woods, among others, in earning the Dubai Desert Classic title recently. And while most fans still think the U.S. Open trophy was handed to Ogilvy on a platter by Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk and Colin Montgomerie last year, remember that he was the only man on the leaderboard to make par on each of the final four holes at Winged Foot.
Even with that victory and the 2006 Accenture already to his credit, Ogilvy remains a household name only in his own household.
"I think the golf world knows who I am, but outside the golf world? Probably not," said Ogilvy, who now owns an 11-0 career match record in this event. "There's not that many golfers who get their reach outside the golf world. There's a few, but not a lot, and I'm definitely not one of them."
Why not? Wish I knew. Certainly winning the Open has some cache 'round these parts. And the fact that he's reached the finals two years running in what is undeniably the coolest structured event on tour should hold some weight, too.
Would it get your attention if I said Ogilvy and Stenson have as much of a chance of winning a major as Mickelson and Furyk this year? Well, it should. And they do.
So, at the risk of sounding like Jerry Maguire: Who's with me?
Who's up for 36 holes of golf from two of the world's best players, a match that promises drama, excitement and suspense?
It's not too late to jump on the Ogilvy/Stenson bandwagon. Plenty of good seats still available.
Jason Sobel is ESPN.com's golf editor. He can be reached at Jason.Sobel@espn3.com
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