You can't pick one hole out of 36 where it all changed, but the par-5 11th hole was a crucial moment in the morning round. Casey teed off first and hit into a fairway bunker, near the lip. That seemed to take birdie out of the picture for him. Ogilvy hit the fairway, still pretty far back, then pulled out his 3-wood and tried to crush it. Instead, he pulled it way left, into the desert and underneath a jumping cholla cactus. A big mistake when your opponent is in trouble. Casey pitched out of the bunker and hit an iron that came up short of the green.
Ogilvy took a drop on the other side of a desert wash and hit his fourth shot short of the green. Casey pitched onto the green, 12 feet away. Then Ogilvy played a perfect bump-and-run chip that hit the stick and dropped in for an unlikely par. Casey missed his putt, giving the hole back to Ogilvy and reinstating his 4-up lead. (Given how poorly they played the hole, it's interesting to note that they skipped the 11th when they played a practice round on the course earlier this month.)
They traded birdies at 13 and 16, and Casey gave himself a glimmer of hope with a nice birdie putt at the 18th to cut Ogilvy's lead to 3-up. Ogilvy posted a medal score of six-under 66 with no bogeys. If a 66 can be routine, this one surely was.
Ogilvy birdied the opening hole in the afternoon so much for Casey's momentum. Casey countered with a birdie at the second. Then came the second most important hole of the day.
At the par-4 fourth, Casey holed a bomb, a putt of some 60 feet that curled in the back side of the cup. You know what happened next, of course. Ogilvy matched him with a 10-foot birdie of his own to halve the hole.
"I made that putt on 4, Geoff just short of laughed at me and carried on," Casey said. "What's tough about playing Geoff is that he doesn't change, his demeanor doesn't waver. That's a huge attribute in match play."
Let's face it, Ogilvy was a golfing machine this week, especially Sunday. He was 11 under par through 33 holes without a bogey. That total would be tough for anyone to beat.
Casey rallied on the final nine, briefly keeping alive a match that looked headed for an early 8-and-7 finish after he bogeyed the ninth to fall 6 down. It was a short-lived rally, however, and the match ended when they halved the 15th hole with birdies. Ogilvy won, 4 and 3.
Note this: The last time Ogilvy won this title, he won the U.S. Open later that year. Reminded of that fact, Ogilvy chuckled. "It's nice that the Open is back in New York this year, which would be symmetrical," he said, referring to his U.S. Open victory at Winged Foot. "But I'm not superstitious. Life doesn't work that way."
Sometimes it does. He and Casey visited this course for a practice round two weeks before the tournament, on Friday the 13th, and they ended up squaring off in the final. Check the lunar tables to see if there was a full moon then, too.
One thing we can state unequivocally. This week, no one was a match for Ogilvy.