Date: June 14, 2007

Ogilvy champions major test

Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy believes his rivals&apos lack of belief in their ability to tame a brutal Oakmont course means he is a favourite for this week&aposs US Open. While most players are not looking forward to going through the massive challenges that lie ahead from Thursday, the Australian sees things a little differently. Ogilvy agrees that a stern test awaits the field, but he also feels winning here is easier for him than in a normal tour event. He explained: “There&aposs an element to majors that they are easier to win than a normal tournament – you&aposve got to play better golf in a major to be at the top because the golf courses test more of your game.” “But there&aposs less players in the field who truly believe they can win one of these.” “You go to a regular tour event and there are 120 guys that really believe they can win that week.” “Here, there might be 20 guys who, going to bed on Wednesday night, really believe that they can truly win a golf tournament.” Ogilvy&aposs is a case in point. He battled to par his final two holes at Winged Foot last year and then watched as the rest of the contenders wilted down the stretch. Scotland&aposs Colin Montgomerie could have won with a par on 18 but he could not hit the green with a seven iron from the fairway and was left to bemoan another lost opportunity. Phil Mickelson also needed just a par to win but banged his drive off a hospitality tent, went for a recovery shot that hit a tree and suffered one of the more painful meltdowns in major championship history. Ogilvy added: “I would have said that before the US Open last year, too.” “There&aposs a lot of thinking that it&aposs a lot harder to win than a normal tournament.” “There are only four a year. There are lots of elements that are harder but there are parts of majors that I think are easier than a regular tournament.” “If you&aposre hanging around, in a regular tournament you have to keep making birdies, and no-one is afraid of getting out there on the leaderboard.” “In majors, they toughen the golf courses up and people start thinking about how good they are going to finish.” “Fields come back in majors, they don&apost keep going. Sometimes it&aposs easier to hang around par and watch people go behind you than it is to make birdies and pass people, like in a regular tournament.” Oakmont will be hosting its eighth US Open and the past winners here include Ernie Els, Larry Nelson, Johnny Miller, Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan.