106th U.S. Open | June 15-18, 2006
Winged Foot Golf Club West Course, Mamaroneck, N.Y.
|Geoff Ogilvy, Australia||71||-||70||-||72||-||72||—||285|
|Jim Furyk, United States||70||-||72||-||74||-||70||—||286|
|Phil Mickelson, United States||70||-||73||-||69||-||74||—||286|
|Colin Montgomery, Scotland||69||-||71||-||75||-||71||—||286|
|Padraig Harrington, Ireland||73||-||69||-||74||-||71||—||287|
“I am such an idiot!”
No comment more defined the brutal finish of this national open — with its unrelenting heat and no-mercy rough.
But it was Phil Mickelson’s finest chance to haul in his first U.S. Open title, which would have certainly catapulted him onto the list of all-time great golfers.
Instead, “Phil the Thrill” melted down on the finishing hole like an ice cream bar on this 100-degree day, virtually handing the title to Geoff Ogilvy.
The one thing Ogilvy did that none of the other contenders could was get up and down for par on the brutal par-4 18th hole. He signed his scorecard nearly an hour before the last groups came through, then watched them fall, one by one:
• All Jim Furyk needed was to make a 5-foot putt on the finishing green to match Ogilvy, but he missed. He recorded his first of back-to-back runner-up finishes.
• Then there was Colin Montgomerie, one of the best all-time players to never win a major. He tied for the lead by making a 75-footer for birdie at the 17th hole.
But from the fairway at No. 18, he switched clubs from 6-iron to 7-iron, thinking adrenaline would kick in. The ball leaked right into the deep rough. He ended up three-putting on a dangerous downhill putt to save par.
• But none touched Mickelson’s final-hole disaster. He pulled his driver so far left, it clanked around the merchandise tent.
What will be forever debated is his strategy from that point. He opted to go for the green and try and make par, but his golf ball hit a tree and advanced only 25 yards.
Mickelson’s third shot landed in a greenside bunker left of the green. His fourth shot from the sand carried off the green. He failed to hole his uphill chip shot to tie Ogilvy.
That drama all led to Mickelson’s fourth U.S. Open runner-up finish, tying Sam Snead for most all-time. It also led to this famous post-round quote.
“I still am in shock that I did that,” Mickelson said. “I just can’t believe that I did that. I am such an idiot.”
Five different golfers held the lead at one point Sunday — with 15 lead changes among them.