U.S. Open 2020: Remembering Monty and Mickelson's misery at Winged Foot

By Sports Desk September 16, 2020

Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie would have a particularly thrilling and eerily similar tale to recount around a campfire of greats recalling their golfing horror stories.

The year was 2006, the scene was Winged Foot, the prize on offer was the U.S. Open on Father's Day. What unfolded was quite extraordinary. 

Fast forward 14 years and Winged Foot is, belatedly, preparing to once more host the major tournament, where the game's biggest names would do well to listen to Mickelson and Montgomerie's cautionary tale.

In total, there were 15 lead changes among five players on a dramatic final day. So, roast your marshmallows and listen carefully as we shine a torchlight on how Geoff Ogilvy became a major champion at the expense of more recognisable names…

Ogilvy's rollercoaster round

Starting the day just one stroke back of co-leaders Mickelson and the unheralded Kenneth Ferrie, Ogilvy found himself two clear through seven holes after making back-to-back gains at the fifth and sixth. But the Australian was not spared the drama and a run of four bogeys in the space of seven holes between the eighth and 15th saw him drop the lead. A solid finish, which yielded four straight pars, would prove to be crucial though…

Monty's mishap leaves door open for Phil

Considered one of the best players to never win a major tournament, Montgomerie passed up a golden opportunity at Winged Foot. The Scotsman had stayed in contention throughout a brutal final day and drained a mammoth 75-foot putt for birdie at his penultimate hole to take a share of the lead. A par would have been enough for the clubhouse lead, while a bogey would have at least meant a Monday play-off. Montgomerie drilled his tee shot at the last down the fairway and had a little over 170 yards to the pin. After a lengthy deliberation, he selected a seven iron but the approach missed the green short and the resulting chip out of the rough left a long downhill putt. He then agonisingly three-putted to see his hopes go up in smoke.

Mickelson makes an almighty mess of it

You could easily forgive Mickelson for thinking that when it comes to the U.S. Open there is a curse on his name. A six-time runner-up at the only major he has never won, including three prior to arguably his most heart-breaking experience at Winged Foot. Having won the previous two majors at the US PGA Championship and the Masters, few would have backed against him when a par at the last would have been enough to lift the trophy. Mickelson had been scratchy in getting to that point, with five bogeys negating three birdies. But still…surely, surely at least he would be back at Winged Foot on Monday. What followed was a comedy of errors. A drive off the tee was so errant it whistled through the trees towards a hospitality talent. His second struck a tree and advanced him just 25 yards, while his third plugged deeply into a green-side bunker. Out of the sand but with no spin, Mickelson's ball rolled off the other side of the green. A chip for bogey went six feet past the hole, leaving Ogilvy to celebrate.

The other hard luck stories…

Amid the drama, a couple of other near misses are often forgotten. Jim Furyk needed only a par at the last for what would have been enough for a play-off, only to miss a five-footer for par after recovering from the bunker. Padraig Harrington had crept into the mix having played 15 holes at two under without making a bogey. But the Irishman, now a three-time major winner, lost his cool at a crucial juncture, bogeying the final three to finish two back.

Related items

  • Herbert and Allen connection can help Chargers challenge Chiefs Herbert and Allen connection can help Chargers challenge Chiefs

    Beating the New York Jets in 2020 is hardly the most impressive of achievements, but it was a significant one for Justin Herbert, who continued his remarkable rookie season with a performance that suggests he is in the process of forming one of the NFL's great quarterback-wide receiver tandems.

    The Los Angeles Chargers' 34-28 victory over the Jets marked only Herbert's second since he replaced Tyrod Taylor as the starting quarterback in Week 2.

    That is despite Herbert compiling a resume of excellent displays that have entrenched him as the Offensive Rookie of the Year front-runner.

    Herbert's play in 2020 has merited significantly more than two wins. All seven of his losses have been in one-possession games and two of those defeats have come in overtime.

    But there was rarely any doubt that he would end the Chargers' four-game losing streak against the winless Jets, as he and Keenan Allen demonstrated a burgeoning rapport.

    Herbert finished with 366 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the only rookie in NFL history with three or more passing touchdowns in five games. He is also the only rookie quarterback to throw at least two touchdowns in seven consecutive games.

    With 22 touchdown passes to his name in nine games, Herbert is the fourth-fastest player to 20 touchdown throws, tied with George Ratterman and behind Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Kurt Warner (all eight games).

    His five 300-yard passing games in 2020 are level with Joe Burrow (2020), Daniel Jones and Kyler Murray (both 2019) for the second-most by an NFL rookie. Andrew Luck (2012) leads the way with six.

    Herbert looks primed to break that record. He was spectacular on Sunday, continuing to display pinpoint accuracy from the pocket and on the move, with his velocity allowing him to fit the ball into extremely tight throwing windows.

    The former Oregon star's prowess in this regard is reflected by his performance in completion percentage above expectation, an NFL Next Gen Stats metric that measures the difference between a quarterback's completion percentage and their expected completion percentage.

    On Sunday, Herbert completed 75.5 per cent of his passes when he was expected to connect on 67.5 per cent of his throws. His completion percentage above expectation of 8.0 was behind only Russell Wilson (11.0), Kirk Cousins (10.5) and Mahomes (9.8).

    For the season, Herbert's completion percentage above expectation is 4.3. Among quarterbacks to have thrown at least 100 passes, that number sees him trail just two quarterbacks - Wilson (5.8) and Cousins (5).

    In other words, Herbert is completing a greater percentage of high difficulty throws than most quarterbacks in the NFL, but the chances of completing such throws are higher when you have a receiver of Allen's calibre.

    Herbert targeted Allen 19 times against the Jets and he caught 16 of those passes for 145 yards and a touchdown. He now leads the NFL with 81 receptions this season.

    Allen became the fifth player with 15 catches in two separate games in his career, joining Antonio Brown, Wes Welker, Brandon Marshall and Jason Witten on that exclusive list.

    He tied Brown with his fourth career game with at least 14 catches and 140 yards and surpassed Brown and Welker by recording his sixth career game with at least 13 receptions, his tally now the most in NFL history.

    One of the more underappreciated receivers in the NFL, Allen is still only 28 years old, meaning he and Herbert should have several seasons together in which he can pad his stats and further solidify his place as one of the premier wideouts of the modern era.

    More importantly for the Chargers, they have a young quarterback on an affordable rookie contract who can keep them in any game paired with a receiver who is one of the elite route-runners in the game and continues to perform at the highest level.

    That is a recipe for success on offense in a high-powered AFC West division where an explosive passing game could hardly be more important.

    Keeping pace with Mahomes and the Super Bowl-champion Kansas City Chiefs may seem like a pipe dream for the Chargers for now but, as Herbert and Allen continue to develop their connection, it becomes a more feasible possibility. 

    Should the Chargers make the right additions to an already talented roster in the offseason, they will be a popular pick to rival the Chiefs for superiority in a division that has been firmly in Kansas City's grasp since 2016. 

  • Jota on fire as Liverpool pass the test, home relief for Solskjaer - the Premier League weekend's quirky facts Jota on fire as Liverpool pass the test, home relief for Solskjaer - the Premier League weekend's quirky facts

    After an international break that seemed to go on for months rather than days, the Premier League was back with typical gusto this weekend.

    Tottenham and Liverpool earned impressive wins over Manchester City and Leicester City respectively to sit top of the pile on 20 points, with Chelsea and the Foxes hot in their wake.

    But away from the more obvious facts and figures there are always some hidden gems that you may have missed.

    With help from the geniuses at Opta, we have delved into some of the quirkier things to emerge from the Premier League these past few days.

    Reds pass the test

    Diogo Jota made history by becoming the first Liverpool player to score in each of his first four home top-flight appearances for the Reds.

    More impressively, his goal in the beating of Leicester came at the end of a sequence of 30 passes – the first time they have tallied so many in the build-up since Opta began collecting such data in the 2006-07 season.

    In that same period, the most a team has had leading to goal was Tottenham when Nacer Chadli netted against QPR in August 2014 with a whopping 48 passes.

    Manchester United (Juan Mata 45 versus Southampton), Manchester City (Ilkay Gundogan 44 versus Manchester United), Southampton (Morgan Schneiderlin 40 versus Newcastle United), and Manchester United again (Ashley Young 37 versus Blackburn Rovers) complete the top five in the metric.

    Relief for Ole

    A poor run of form had seen the pressure grow on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United but back-to-back Premier League wins has helped his cause a little.

    Saturday's 1-0 win over West Brom – secured by Bruno Fernandes' second-half penalty – ended a run of 323 minutes without a Premier League goal at Old Trafford.

    Only twice have United gone longer without celebrating at home in the competition, the longest being 361 minutes between March and August 2002, while they went 334 minutes between April and August 2007.

    Worryingly for Solskjaer, he has another streak in the top five with United going 235 minutes without a Premier League home goal between January and February earlier this year.

    Grim reading for the Steel City

    Chris Wilder and his Sheffield United side have little to smile about right now as a 1-0 home defeat to West Ham on Sunday left them with just one point from their opening nine matches.

    Only three teams have ever accrued such a paltry sum at the same stage of a Premier League season.

    Coincidentally, Steel City rivals Sheffield Wednesday did so in 1999-00, while Manchester City are the other unfortunate side in 1995-96. In a potentially bad omen for the Blades, both sides went on to be relegated.

    With Wednesday mired in relegation trouble of their own in the Championship, both sides of the Sheffield divide will hope for a boost in fortunes as we edge towards Christmas.

    Own goal-woe for Fernandez and Evans

    Come on admit it…we all love it when a player ends up with egg on their face and scores past their own goalkeeper. In fact, the more comical the own goal the better.

    Over the weekend, two particularly luckless players continued their rotten luck in this regard.

    Federico Fernandez was on the scoresheet for the wrong team as Newcastle United were beaten by Chelsea. Since his Premier League debut in 2014, no other player has more own goals than his five – level with Lewis Dunk.

    Jonny Evans racked up a sixth Premier League own goal as Leicester City were outclassed by Liverpool. Only Richard Dunne (10), Jamie Carragher (7) and Martin Skrtel (7) have put more in their own net.

    Fulham paying the penalty

    There are never any guarantees that a penalty will bring a goal…just ask poor Fulham fans.

    Ivan Cavaleiro's miss from 12 yards in the 3-2 loss to Everton on Sunday means the Cottagers have missed five of their past eight Premier League penalties, with three different takers in that time.

    Both Arsenal and Leicester City have missed five in a row in the competition before (the Gunners between October 1992 and November 1993, and the Foxes August 1994 to September 1996).

    The most recent example of a side failing with four in a row was Manchester City last season.

  • Tyson v Jones Jr: Two boxing legends and the shock defeats in their storied careers Tyson v Jones Jr: Two boxing legends and the shock defeats in their storied careers

    Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr return to the ring on Saturday, the two all-time greats facing each other in an exhibition contest.

    Whether you believe this to be a post-Thanksgiving treat or a sporting turn-off, considering they have a combined age of 105, the contest cannot help but evoke memories of past achievements.

    Tyson is a former undisputed heavyweight champion who was dubbed 'The Baddest Man on the Planet', while Jones won world titles at four different weights in a storied career in the paid ranks that spanned four decades.

    However, as is often the case with fighters, the final chapters can expose the harsh realities of stepping between the ropes.

    Ahead of their clash in California, scheduled to take place over eight two-minute rounds, we recall the defeats during the latter years that stunned the boxing world.


    Lennox Lewis - The Pyramid, Memphis (June 8, 2002)

    A fight long talked about between two greats in the heavyweight division finally materalised in June 2002 – though not before a further slight delay. Originally scheduled for April in the same year, a press conference brawl forced the date to be pushed back. 

    The pair, as well as their entourages, became involved in an altercation on stage to promote their upcoming meeting. WBC president Jose Sulaiman was knocked unconscious during the melee, while Tyson drew first blood – quite literally – by biting Lewis' leg. 

    As for the actual fighting in the ring, Lewis dominated. While deducted a point for pushing, the penalty did not matter as the Briton negated the need for checking the scorecards, recording a knockout win in the eighth round. A bloodied and bruised Tyson made it back onto one knee but failed to beat the count.

    Danny Williams - Freedom Hall State Fairground, Louisville (July 30, 2004)

    Tyson knocked out Clifford Etienne inside a minute in his first outing after losing to Lewis, raising the prospect of a lucrative rematch.  

    However, the American did not fight in the ring for the remainder of the year, instead becoming embroiled in legal battles. He filed for bankruptcy in August 2003 but did finally get the chance to continue his career the following July.  

    For the relatively unknown Williams, it was a chance of a lifetime. The Briton weathered an early storm in Kentucky to secure a famous victory with a fourth-round stoppage. Tyson - hampered by a knee injury suffered during the bout - started brightly but faded fast and, after slumping down to sit against the ropes, was counted out.

    Kevin McBride - MCI Center, Washington (June 11, 2005)

    After nearly a year off, Tyson returned to action against McBride with a new trainer and a renewed energy - or so it seemed. Having called his opponent a "tomato can" prior to the bout, 'Iron Mike' ended up being crushed. 

    McBride used his frame to stifle and sap the energy from a faded force in Tyson, who had had two points deducted in the sixth for a headbutt. He finished that round on his backside, albeit the trip to the canvas was not ruled a knockdown. It did not matter, though.  

    Having reached his corner, Tyson did not emerge again for the start of the next round. One of the most feared fighters in his prime was finished, in more ways than one.


    Antonio Tarver - Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas (May 15, 2004)

    Jones became the first fighter to start out at light-middleweight and go on to win a world title at heavyweight when he defeated John Ruiz on points, further cementing his legacy as one of the all-time greats.  

    He dropped back down to light-heavy for his next outing, the first episode in a trilogy with Tarver. Jones prevailed by majority decision and talked about fighting Tyson or retirement yet was back at the 175-pound limit six months later, facing his previous foe again instead. 

    With hands held low, Jones was caught in the second round of the rematch with a left hook as he attempted to land one of his own. Swaying like a sailboat in a storm, he was unable to continue, his aura of invincibility emphatically ended. Tarver won the third meeting – on points -  as well.

    Danny Green - Acer Arena, Sydney (December 2, 2009)

    Ahead of a long-awaited rematch with rival Bernard Hopkins, Jones went up against Green in a cruiserweight contest in Sydney.

    The bout in Australia was short but not sweet for the visiting fighter, as Jones was dropped by a right hand just 75 seconds into the action. While able to beat the count, a swarming Green forced a first-round stoppage.  

    Jones later launched a complaint citing use of illegal hand wraps by his rival, calling for the result be changed to a disqualification. The defeat still remains on his record but he did not miss out on the Hopkins fight, which still went ahead in 2010.

    Enzo Maccarinelli - VTB Arena, Moscow (December 12, 2015)

    Successive losses to Hopkins and then Denis Lebedev did not wilt Jones' desire to carry on campaigning in the ring. Europe became a popular destination as he put together an eight-fight winning run between 2011 and 2015.  

    However, the streak came to an emphatic end when put in against Maccarinelli in a cruiserweight bout. Now 46 years of age, Jones – who had been granted Russian citizenship following a meeting with Vladimir Putin - was dropped twice and stopped in the fourth round.   

    It appeared to be the end of the line, yet he has fought four times since, all of them victories. The most notable name among the quartet of his more-recent foes is Bobby Gunn, who built his reputation as a professional bare-knuckle boxer. 

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.