Written by Jason Bruno
The team of Jim "Bones" MacKay and Phil Mickelson celebrate their fifth major together at Muirfield.
Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland - After being gutted emotionally a month earlier after his sixth runner
up finish at the U.S Open (Merion), Phil Mickelson recharged his emotional and physical batteries and
won back to back on two Scottish links golf courses-first at the Open tune up at Castle Stuart, then
at the headliner - The Open Championship at Muirfield.
Starting the final round five strokes behind Sunday, Mickelson played a masterful round, especially
on the back nine - making birdie on 4 of the last 6 holes. 54 hole leader and local favorite, Lee
Westwood struggled (shooting 75), but Mickelson's 66 was superb (in fact it tied for the best round
of the championship), especially on a day when the wind continued to blow. After a bogey on the par
4 tenth, Mickelson birdied the tough par 3 13th, the 14th, and with a massively pured 3 wood from 303
yards, he reached the mighty par 5-17th. After two putting for birdie, it seemed likely the jug was his . . .
provided he par the 18th. He did one better, curling in his 12 footer on the last for birdie to reach -3,
and just like that, it was Game Over.
"Phil the Thrill" is the best watch in Golf, he either grabs these events by the throat or crashes & burns.
The media was so sure it was over after his final putt, that ESPN had Tom Rinaldi interviewing and
congratulating Phil on his win while there were still over half a dozen players still left on the course, a
few of which weren't mathematically eliminated yet. For sure it was just a formality, nobody was sniffing
3 under par, but a risky call for a live network event.
Masters Champion Adam Scott and Ian Poulter each rallied early on to challenge Westwood, but Poulter's
charge finished at 1 over par (67). Adam Scott faltered after taking the lead at -2 early on the back nine,
finishing T3 at +1 (72). World #1 Tiger Woods started the day only two strokes back, but couldn't muster
up much of a challenge, struggling on the greens (finishing at +2 after a final round 74). Woods continues
to struggle on the weekends of majors, now winless in 17 straight majors since 2008 at Torrey Pines.
Swede Henrik Stenson continued his solid play of late, finishing solo 2nd (even par) for the championship
after his final round 70.
Mickelson was understandably elated after his amazing performance, "It's probably the greatest and most
difficult win of my career. It is great to be part of any Open Championship and to win at Muirfield feels
Today was a win for the game of Golf: a historic performance on one of world's great venues, in the
games oldest championship. No doubt, the Claret Jug is the games best trophy . . . and it now resides
in San Diego.