SAN DIEGO - Geoff Ogilvy sounded like a guy who had played poorly during Saturday’s third round of the U.S. Open. But the reality is that the Australian — by way of Scottsdale — is positioned perfectly to win his second U.S. Open championship in three years today at Torrey Pines.
“Maybe I can reverse it,’’ Ogilvy said after a 1-over-par 72 left him trailing the leader, Tiger Woods, by four shots with 18 holes to play.
“It wasn’t horrible today. I just kept missing greens and hitting it in the rough and bunkers all day,’’ Ogilvy observed. “I was pretty good at saving par, however, with the exception of the mess I made at the 14th.’’
Players were short all day at the par-4 14th, and Ogilvy compounded the problem by getting into some mud in the rough that caused him to hit his third shot fat.
“Short, and then a three-putt. What are you going to do?’’ Ogilvy said. “It’s always the hardest part of a U.S. Open, getting it up and down around the greens.’’
But just like in 2006, when he won at Winged Foot, Ogilvy is only a few shots back going into the final round. And just like then, he’s only got a few players to overtake in order to win the silver trophy and the $1.3 million first prize.
Told he might be in better position than he thinks, Ogilvy agreed.
“I guess it’s rare when you can walk off a U.S. Open and think you played a great round,’’ he said. “But maybe I’m due one.’’
THE BRITISH ARE COMING
Earlier in the week, Vijay Singh told the London Daily Telegraph that he wasn’t surprised that no British golfer has won the U.S. Open since Tony Jacklin in 1970, because today’s young Brits “play in a comfort zone and don’t work hard enough.”
But paired with Vijay on Saturday, one of those Singh was referring to, Paul Casey, decided not to address the issue. The Englishman, who lives in Scottsdale, said he had just found out about Singh’s comments the day prior from countryman Luke Donald and had “no comment on that one.’’
“My work rate is absolutely fine,’’ said the former Arizona State star. “Vijay’s clearly is more than most other people’s.
“But you look at Monty, and you rarely saw him on the range, but he is absolutely brilliant. That is just his style. I think the British guys are working very hard.’’
The most successful Brit, with six majors to his name, is Nick Faldo, who lost a playoff to Curtis Strange at the 1988 U.S Open. But the country’s young stars like Casey, Donald and Ian Poulter have struggled in the majors, as has Lee Westwood, who could put some egg on Singh’s face if he comes up big today against Woods.
Asked if he planned to work out after his round Saturday, Casey chuckled.
“A padded cell might be nice,’’ he said after a 76 left him 12 over.
“Sometimes, you just want to get away from the golf course once you’re done playing.’’
NO HOME COOKIN’
A lot of people claim to have played a course “a thousand times.’’ But when it comes to Pat Perez and Torrey Pines, that cliché holds up.
The 32-year-old pro from Scottsdale grew up on Torrey Pines, and worked at the range picking up balls. He has said on many occasions that he was a “total range rat at Torrey.’’
But all that local knowledge hasn’t helped “Double P’’ much this week, as he stands 10 over after a 75. He did play better as his round went on, however, as he was 5 over on his first seven holes and 1 under on his last 11.
“I had four three-putts and a four-putt, and I think 38 putts total,’’ Perez said. “But that’s just Torrey. It’s Poa annua 365 days a year, which means it’s always bumpy and hard to get it in the hole.
“You can’t putt it firm, or you’ll end up with a four-putt like I did today. ... It’s too late. I’m done.’’
WHAT SLOW PLAY?
Slow play has been all the talk recently in professional golf, where a round often takes over five hours.
But Anthony Kim and Ryuji Imada, who went off first at 8:30 a.m., flew through their round in three hours, 15 minutes – 48 minutes ahead of pace.
And they both shot 70.
“We really didn’t play fast,’’ Imada said. “I’ve done it in one hour and 50 minutes before. It’s nice to play 'ready golf.’ ”
Added Kim: “I actually wouldn’t mind playing faster than that. So it was a normal round for me.’’