Sunday, July 17, 2016

Phil and Henrik

By all rights, Phil Mickelson should have won the British Open. I mean, good grief, he was only one shot off the lead heading into the final round, then went out and blistered the course with a 6 under 65. But on this day, Lefty would come up short.

As in three whole shots worth. In an amazing display of golf, his Swedish playing partner Henrik Stenson shot an incredible 63 -- eight strokes under par. Mickelson would later say he played about as well as he could, but just got beat.

What made Stenson's round even more impressive was it included two bogies. That means he played the remaining 16 holes in a jaw dropping 10 under.

Henrik Stenson has been a touring pro for almost two decades (he's 40), but this was the first major championship he captured. Oddly enough, it was also the first by any Swede. His final tally of 20 under par was the lowest score -- ever -- in the Open.

On the other hand, Lefty is now 46 years old. He was aiming to match Jack Nicklaus' record of oldest player to win a major. He might still best it in years to come, but this was a chance that didn't exactly get away, but was rather snatched by Stenson and his round for the ages.

Hats off to Henrik. He da Man. Also a gentleman's gentleman. It couldn't happen to a nicer and more deserving guy.

Maybe Phil can dial up some of that old magic down the road in another major, but 46 is 46 and it won't get any easier in years to come. Especially with all the young guns that inhabit the tour. They keep popping up like dandelions in the spring.

But he shouldn't feel too bad. After all, 17 under par at any major championship is quite the impressive score. And he got paid handsomely, to the tune of 675,000 bucks, or Euros, or pounds sterling, or whatever currency it is they use in the British Isles these days.

Still, this was Henrik Stenson's time to shine. His performance will long be remembered as one of the greatest ever in a major championship. And the final round duel between him and Mickelson was absolutely epic. The nearest other competitors finished over 10 shots behind. That's a bunch.

An aside. Many thanks to the readers of this blog and your patience and understanding while I was off for a while -- no cracks, LOL -- due to the death of my mother.

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