Shooting a final round 66, highlighted by four birdies over the six closing holes, at a Muirfield course that played its toughest on Sunday.
We were witness to Phil Mickleson’s greatest round of golf as a professional. He came from five shots off the pace to win The 2013 Open Championship in the most dramatic way possible.
You have to figure that sitting in front of his television, at his home, at Bay Hill, near Orlando, Arnold Palmer had a smile on his face as Mickleson lifted The Claret Jug. It was the final Sunday charge setting up the come from behind win, at the big tournaments, is what made Palmer famous.
Sunday’s win at Muirfield was Mickleson’s fifth major crown, giving him titles in three of the four majors, one shy of the career Grand Slam. As most golf fans know he has yet to win a U.S. Open, a tournament that he has finished in 2nd, a record 5 times.
Palmer had won sixty-two wins in his career, including seven majors, but The King never managed to win the PGA Championship. That’s the one thing missing on Palmer’s resume, and it’s the one tournament that prevented him from completing the career grand slam. By the way Palmer finished 2nd at the PGA a record 3 times.
Mickleson is this generation’s Arnold Palmer in so many ways. The fans that follow him on the golf course are loud and he interacts with them drawing strength for their support. On the course he pokes fun at himself and slaps high fives with his fans when he hits a great shot. Of course “Arnies Army,” is still well known for their part in the success of Palmer anytime he was on the golf course.
Like Palmer, Mickleson is fearless and will take chances when sometimes the most sensible thing to do is to play it safe but that is not in their DNA. Sunday, Mickleson went for the big shots when the ordeal was at its height and pulled it off.
Four birdies over the closing six holes for a 66 and the only player under par at the end will win you an Open Championship and The Claret Jug.
Mickleson knows that he will never be considered in class in golf history as Tiger Woods. But at 43 he is proving that he can still win major championships. He has to be the early favorite at the 2013 PGA Championship that will take place August 8th through 11th at the Oak Hill Country Club, Rochester, N.Y.
As long as Mickleson can channel his “inner Arnie,” he will be fine.