(Reuters) - Geoff Ogilvy, perhaps more than any other golfer, is the man who stopped Phil Mickelson from completing a career grand slam, and now he hopes to help derail the entire American team at the Presidents Cup.
Ogilvy, an assistant captain for the International team, will try to impart to an inexperienced squad some of the knowledge he has gained both as an individual competitor and team player.
Regarded as a strong closer in his prime, the 40-year-old Australian posted an individual record of seven wins, six losses and one halve in three Presidents Cup appearances.
He was perfect in singles — 3-0-0 — but never appeared on the winning team.
Not since 2005 have the Internationals, players from outside the United States and Europe, led after the first day and the slow starts have sapped team morale as well as being costly on the scoreboard.
“What we need to do is be better on Thursday and Friday than we have been historically,” Ogilvy said in an interview.
“Every time I played and pretty much every one for the last six or seven (events) we seem to get trounced after the first two days and then we’re playing catch-up and the team room is a little bit flat.
“If Thursday and Friday go well then it almost takes care of itself. You create that vibe and atmosphere.
“When you’re in and about the lead you’re just more into it. Then it becomes a coin toss.”
The Internationals have managed only one win and one tie in 11 stagings of the Presidents Cup, and have lost all six times the competition has been held in the United States.
Mickelson has been on every American team, compiling a 23-16-12 record, and will be a mainstay for the red, white and blue again when the biennial event starts on Thursday.
Ogilvy can hardly wave a magic wand and ensure a good start by the Internationals, but he will take good vibes back to the Big Apple, where the Presidents Cup will be held at Liberty National in New Jersey.
The course, located against a Manhattan skyline, is also only a few miles from where Ogilvy recorded the biggest victory of his career when he won the 2006 U.S. Open.
He emerged as an unlikely victor at Winged Foot when Mickelson stunningly double-bogeyed the final hole.
It was one of six second-placings for Mickelson at the U.S. Open, and the most painful.
The American, now 47, still needs the U.S. Open for a career grand slam, after winning the Masters three times, and the British Open and PGA Championship once each.
“If it doesn’t happen for him at the U.S. Open, that’s the one he’ll look back on and think ‘I really did it let get away,’ but golf tournaments are 72 holes,” Ogilvy said, before wishing Mickelson well in his grand slam quest.
“I hope he wins one. He deserves a grand slam. He’s been that good. It shows you how hard it is to do, win all four.”
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Gene Cherry