Round 3 Saturday at the U.S. Open was pure Hollywood. All that was missing was Tiger desperately searching the galleries after his eagle putt on 18, then yelling, "Yo, Elin, I did it!"
Unfortunately, real life doesn't always end the way movies do (remember this year's Masters), and the leaderboard contains a handful of players capable of posting a good score and stealing the Open trophy from Woods, who leads the pack at three under. One of them was playing just a few groups in front of him yesterday: 2006 U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy.
While Woods was making miraculous birdies and eagles, Ogilvy was scrambling for pars and keeping himself in this tournament, finishing at one over, four strokes behind Woods. When he did make a mistake -- a bogey on 1 and a double on 14 -- he immediately followed with a birdie. Ogilvy said he was "missing in the right spots," and he knows from his experience at Winged Foot in 2006 that strange things can happen on Sundays at the U.S Open.
"Obviously I'd like to be in the lead, but two or three or four back -- four shots could disappear in three holes, two holes out here," he said. "The amount of shots isn't as important as the amount of people, and there's probably only two or three people between me and the lead [Ed note: Two people it turned out later.] And that's similar to Winged Foot." Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs said that Ogilvy has a chance to win Sunday because he hits the ball so high and the wind won't be a factor. But missing so many greens in regulation, as Ogilvy did on Saturday, is trouble at the U.S. Open, Riggs said.
"You just can't do that for four rounds at the U.S. Open," Riggs said. "I look at greens in regulation to see who's going to be contending the last day, and the guys I like as dark horses are Sergio Garcia and Hunter Mahan."
Garcia (+3) is second in greens in regulation this week, hitting 72 percent, while Mahan (+2) is third at 70 percent . (Nick Watney is first but is +13.) Woods, by contrast, is hitting just 63 percent of the greens in regulation this week (and just half of them Saturday), and he ranks 64th in fairways hit: he's had to become the miracle worker because he's driving like Helen Keller.
"I don't think Tiger's the favorite," Riggs said. "There was way too much magic for that to continue -- that was a freak show, just ridiculous. I really think Lee Westwood (two under, one behind Woods) is the favorite."
Westwood knows how to win (18 victories on the European Tour), and his Ryder Cup experience will be helpful playing with Woods on Sunday because he won't wilt under the pressure, Riggs said. He also hit 13 of 18 greens Saturday (72 percent).
"Then again, Tiger will probably win by 10 strokes," Riggs said. "If he does, forget I said this."