Phil Mickelson wins one for the thumb at Muirfield

“I actually think the back is playing a little bit easier.”

-Phil Mickelson, after completing his third round at Muirfield

There he sat in the interview room, moments after logging disappointing, back-to-back rounds.  Phil Mickelson had shot a combined four over par on Friday and Saturday.  He was two over for the tournament.  While still in contention due to Muirfield’s difficult playing conditions, Mickelson winning his first ever British Open was an afterthought.  Entering Sunday’s round, he trailed by five strokes.

Phil wins britishESPN’s Tom Rinaldi concluded Saturday evening’s interview by asking Phil what he thought it would take to win on Sunday.  Phil boldly stated he thought a score of even par would win the tournament.  Rinaldi second-guessed him considering the golfers that were ahead of him at the time.  Those included leader Lee Westwood, Masters Champion Adam Scott and his arch-nemesis, Tiger Woods.  Phil said if he could shoot a round in the sixties on Sunday, he’d leave himself a good chance to win the Claret Jug.

Truer words have never been spoken.

As the fog settled in at Muirfield, Phil shot what he proudly stated was the round of his life, big words considering he’s now a five-time Major champion.  He shot a 66 on Sunday, six birdies, one bogey, a picture perfect round on an overcast day.  Mickelson birdied four of the final six holes to leave no doubt.  He had wrapped up the tournament with golfers left on the course.

While Westwood, Scott and Woods all found bunkers, rough and rounds over par, Mickelson was magical, the awkward fist pumps, that unmistakable grin.  His 66 was the best round of the tournament and the most clutch round of his life.

In the last two months, Phil has finished third in the Wells Fargo Tournament, second at the FedEx St Jude Classic, second at the US Open and first among the best golfers in the world at the British Open.  A winner of three of the four majors, only the US Open eludes him, a tournament he’s come in second place an amazing six times.

There was a time when Mickelson wasn’t a fan favorite.  He was always popular but his gallery paled in comparison to that of Tiger Woods.  I’m not so sure that’s the case anymore.  The cheers for Phil are as loud as ever, with good reason.  Phil is humble where Tiger is arrogant, Phil accessible, Tiger far more flippant.  Phil just seems more decent.  He embraces his wife and children after every emotional win.  With Tiger we can forgive, but never forget, that fateful night at Windermere.

Mickelson will never boast Tiger’s resume but he probably sleeps a lot better at night.  In his own words, winning a US Open will cement his legacy.  He’ll have to wait until next June to do so and at 43, it won’t be easy.  One thing is for sure.  He’ll have plenty of fans cheering him on as he attempts to do so.

20 thoughts on “Phil Mickelson wins one for the thumb at Muirfield

  1. Pingback: Phil Mickelson wins one for the thumb at Muirfield - BallHyped Blog Network, Golf | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. He is and has been my favorite golfer since he has been on tour. He always had as much skill as Tiger Woods, but always lacked the finishing mentality. He is a better golfer today than Tiger Woods and has been for a couple of years.

    That doesn’t mean he is higher up on the all-time great list…just that he will beat Tiger more than Tiger beats him in today’s golf…at least for a couple more years until Phils body won’t stand up anymore…Tiger is 5 years younger so he should last a bit longer and he takes care of himself better than Phil.

    However, yesterday was awesome as a Phil fan! It was over when he banged the 303 yard 3 wood from the fairway on 17…the fat lady started.

  3. In listing Phils accomplishments over the last 2 months…don’t forget he won the Scottish Open last week…comes over from across the pond…wins the 2 tournaments he enters and flies home with 2 trophy’s and a bundle of cash…thanks for the hospitality Europe LOL!

  4. Chris

    It won`t be a bundle of cash after HM Revenue Customs & Excise ( UK equivalent of the IRS for which Lefty will be taxed at 60% ) takes their fair share out of the combined $2.45 million won for both the British and Scottish Open victories . Taxes ? Who needs taxes ? LOL ,LOL !!

    It was a spectacular last round by Phil Mickelson on one of the toughest courses in Open history . Muirfield is not a course for the faint-hearted , as it as been known to humble grown men .

    Strange however, to think that this was only the fifth Major (Grand Slam title) of Mickelson`s career and also that he has yet to achieve the career Grand Slam of winning all four Majors .

    Never played at Muirfield but I have been privileged enough to visit and to drink at the nineteenth hole .

    tophatal ………..

  5. D…

    Yeah, he credited not ever having to use his driver this weekend. Smart play.

    Must be nice to pick a 3-wood clean off the fairway and knock it a cool 300 yards onto the green. I’ll have to try that next time I’m out. I’ve been hitting hybrid lately from that same lie.

    The tide is definitely turning towards Phil’s favor and el Tigre can’t seem to close the deal when it comes to Majors.

    And I totally forgot about the Scottish Open. As Mike Myers would say, if it ain’t Scottish, it’s crap.

    I’m thinking Phil’s about to take himself a nice little vacation… as if running over to Europe and playing a shit load of golf, all expenses paid, isn’t vacation enough.

    Sign me up!

  6. We will have to hit the links soon…my game is decent…mid 80′s usually. Yeah I forgot about taxes…ouch…60%…and to think that the tax rate was 3% when we started dumping tea over the sides of boats…my how things have changed.

  7. Al…

    I don’t think the money matters much to Phil as, according to Forbes, he’s already won over $70 million on tour, and that not including endorsements. They list him as the world’s seventh highest paid athlete.

    And five majors is still pretty decent, man. Remember, it took him a while to get his first. Two more and he’ll tie Trevino and Faldo for 12th. That’s pretty decent company.

  8. You’re about to piss me off, D. I haven’t seen the 80s in over a year and I’m playing a reasonable amount.

    They have this thing called the driving range I hear. Not sure what they do there though.

  9. Chris

    Golf needs guys like Lefty , McIlroy and Woods at te top of their games for it to be interesting and a major draw for te fans of te sport . The rest of the time on the PGA Tour is simply monotonous watching a bunch of robotic like characters .

    So Ryan Braun gets a sixty-five game slap on the wrist , having not admitted is guilt in the Biogenesis scandal ? Meanwhile , Manny Ramirez , a two-time drug cheat (yet to serve the mandatory 100 game suspension for a second offense ) is now playing ball in the Minors for a Texas Rangers` affiliate . And the fans are meant to be proud of that fact and the job that Bud Selig is meant to be doing ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

    Braun in his career so far as earned in excess of $20 million and recently signed a 5 year $105 million deal with the Brewers .

    Remind me a again why baseball as a steroid policy tat remains a damn joke , in terms of the punishment meted out . Away from baseball , Ryan Braun won`t be hurting for money , as he has several successful businesses in the greater Milwaukee area ( a restaurant chain and a commercial real estate company) .

    Money makes the world go around , but in the NBA world it does help , just as much as it hinders …..

    tophatal ……..

  10. I agree with you to some extent, Al, but the game also has a lot of young talent that should be able to carry the torch once those guys move on.

    Look, it’s hard to imagine any golfer having the drawing power of Tiger or Phil but there are golfers out there like Bubba, Dufner, Keegan and others that should be able to hold their own.

    Braun’s gone. Suspended for the year. I hear they fired the guy that mishandled his pee too. So what are the charges? Have they been released? Do we know what he took and when yet or did baseball just want to look like they’re actually doing something about this?

  11. That’s true, Mo, at least in majors.

    He did get off to a pretty solid start this year though… in the tournaments that don’t really matter.

  12. Yep…guess what?…no Lindsey Vonn either at the beginning of the year I don’t believe. That is his true distraction is a serious girlfriend. Many a legend has been undone by a woman.

    When he was able to just be Tiger and bang whomever and go about his life he was dominating. Add in a serious companion and you can forget it.

    On a different note…are you a member of Pinterest Chump? I mean, I saw your name listed but did not think it could be possible…

  13. And yes I know many successful people who are in a relationship…just isn’t going to work for him IMO.

  14. I am on Pinterest to promote the site, D. You know I’m a whore for traffic.

    Lindsay Vonn ain’t bad to look at though, probably hotter than Elin.

    I wonder if she and Tiger have ever gone skiing.

  15. Chris

    In all honesty, what are those guys going to hold ? Are you serious ? A lot of those guys are simply robotic , lack a great deal of appeal . The same ting was said about David Duval . That , he would be great on the Tour . Where is his game , much less , hasn`t he all but retired ?

    The PGA Tour in many respects , has become such a farce when you have prize money for tournaments totaling over $6-$7 million for none Majors and guys as finishing as low as fortieth place can walk away with almost $100,000 and in some cases even more What real incentive is there to try ?

    There were no real charges made public against Braun, as his agent Nev Balelo worked out this deal . Now while that idiocy is in play , explain to me h,ow Manny Ramirez , a two time offender who didn`t serve the mandatory 100 game suspension for a second offense , is now allowed to play Minor League ball for a Texas Rangers` affiliate ?

    Left you a response on that basketball piece ? You may disagree with the comment made .

    tophatal ………..

  16. This was one of my favorite majors to watch in a while… what a clutch back 9 by Lefty… gut tells me that he’ll get that career Grand Slam next year, when he returns to the course where Payne Stewart defeated him and told him that he had the best thing coming… that he was going to be a Dad…

  17. So let me ask ya’, Kev.

    What does Tiger’s dominance this weekend say about his potential finish at the PGA?

    Would you place a wager on him at this point?

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