Just like the UK’s infamous public transport system, you wait 21 years for a golf title on British soil and suddenly two come along at once. That must be how Phil Mickelson felt on Sunday night after he careered to the Open Championship crown just a week after winning the Scottish Open, breaking a two-decade duck this side of the Atlantic.
Phil Mickelson, 43, deservedly landed his fifth – and maybe the greatest – major of his career at Muirfield, rising from the ranks on the back nine to birdie at the 13th, 14th, 17th and 18th holes. A 66 final round left him three shots clear of the field and eventually standing with the Claret Jug.
Few fans who bet on golf will begrudge the leftie this victory, for Mickelson has come agonisingly close to greatness at the Open. Since his debut in 1991, he has come third once and tied second in 2011 behind Darren Clarke. Having not won a major since the Masters in 2010 (including a sixth runner-up spot at the US Open this year), it was feared Big Phil was gradually on the slide yet this tournament victory puts his career right back on track.
What was so impressive, and what makes him a good favourite to win the PGA Championship later this season, is that he managed to beat the links courses that have so often plagued his game. While many of the world’s top stars avoided the Scottish Open the week before, Mickelson used his four rounds at Castle Stuart to implement a confidence base from which to tackle Muirfield.
It certainly worked on that glorious back nine on Sunday, which is where Tiger Woods and Lee Westwood slipped up their challenge. Golf betting fans can expect plenty more from Mickelson this season and even if he doesn’t win the PGA Championship at Oak Hill, he will place within the top-10 on this performance.