Posted July 22, 2013 on AP on Fox
Wgchsbc_championsround_three_bb3d
(Eds: With AP Photos.) By TIM DAHLBERG AP Sports Columnist The celebration started when Phil Mickelson rolled in his final birdie putt, with hands raised high in the air and a tearful caddie just waiting to be hugged. It quickly turned into a victory lap, even as the players he'd already beaten struggled to finish what was left of their disappointing day. There were, of course, hugs for his picture perfect wife and his equally charming children - and lots of them. Congratulations to accept from most anyone near the 18th green, and plenty of smiles for the thousands gathered in the grandstands. Then, with even more time to kill before he was officially declared champion of the one tournament he feared he would never win, Mickelson did what only Mickelson would do - he began signing autographs. Hold onto them because they might be worth something someday. The guy with the goofy grin who once seemed destined never to win a major now seems intent on playing his way into golfing lore. No, he's not Tiger Woods. Never will be, though that's not really such a bad thing. But he did play one of the greatest rounds you'll ever see Sunday under treacherous conditions in the final round of the British Open. And it may be time to stop thinking about him as a player who sometimes can't think straight on the course and start the discussion about where he ranks among the greats of the game. With five major championships now, he's in the mix. Toss in one of those six U.S. Opens he came so agonizingly close to winning and he might even be there now. Only five players have the career Grand Slam, and they have last names like Nicklaus, Woods and Hogan. If one day Mickelson joins them there, his legacy will be set. ''I think that if I'm able to win the U.S. Open and complete the career Grand Slam, I think that that's the sign of the complete great player,'' Mickelson said. ''I'm a leg away. And it's been a tough leg for me.'' If it's any consolation, this one was always tough, too. Mickelson took a long time to acclimate to golf across the pond, a long time to figure out that the grass that grows over here is different from the stuff that grows on the finely manicured country clubs back home. For years he tried to hit shots he had no business trying to hit, and for years he struggled to even get in contention in the oldest major of them all. This wasn't shaping up as the year he was going to figure it all out, either. Not after yet another heartbreaking loss at the U.S. Open at Merion, where he had a one-shot lead going into the final round only to kick it away with two bad wedges on the back nine. ''It could have easily gone south, where I was so deflated I had a hard time coming back,'' Mickelson acknowledged. ''But I looked at it and thought I was playing really good golf. I had been playing some of the best in my career. And I didn't want it to stop me from potential victories this year and some potential great play. And in a matter of a month I'm able to change entirely the way I feel.'' He may have also changed entirely the way some in golf feel about him. While fans love Mickelson for his smile, his easy way with autographs and his daredevil style, there's always been a feeling he's given away as many tournaments as he's won. His career-defining moments all pretty much revolved around the Masters and before Sunday he didn't have an Open to his name. A round for the ages took care of that. On a breezy afternoon off the coast of Scotland, Lefty did what seemed impossible, making four birdies in the last six holes to run the table at Muirfield. He closed it out with two of the best 3-woods of his life back-to-back on the par-5 17th hole and an iron to No. 18 to set up his final birdie. He went so low so fast that Adam Scott - who had held the lead - thought the scoreboard was playing tricks on him when he glanced up at it a few times on the back nine. ''Best round I've ever seen him play,'' said caddie Jim ''Bones'' Mackay, who was so caught up in the win he was crying on the 18th green. That he played it at the age of 43 is a testament to Mickelson's work ethic as well as his talent. He wants to win badly, and he's willing to put the effort into it, even if some of his ideas about competing - like playing the first round of the U.S. Open after flying overnight to get there so he could be at his daughter's eighth-grade graduation - are, in the world of golf, a bit unorthodox. Mickelson didn't win a major until he was 34, going 0-for-42 in them before breaking through at the Masters. While he probably won't catch Woods and his 14 majors, Woods only leads him 6-5 in major titles over the last decade. And while Woods is stuck on his number, Mickelson seems intent on adding to his haul. ''I joke around all the time,'' Mackay said, ''when he's 60 on the putting green at Augusta, he's going to say, `I got a chance.''' Hard to imagine, but there was a time this win would have been, too. Now, anything seems possible for Mickelson. That should be reason to celebrate, too. ---- Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Phil Mickelson wins British Open

Phil Mickelson has won the British Open with a spectacular finish. Mickelson shot a 5-under 66 Sunday to match the best round of the tournament and win his first claret jug. The celebration began while there were still four groups on the course. Lefty birdied four of the last six holes, capped by a 10-footer at the tough 18th to claim his fifth major title. As soon as the ball...

Mickelson gana el Abierto Britanico de golf

Por PAUL NEWBERRY Associated Press Phil Mickelson conquisto el Abierto Britanico con un final spectacular. El estadounidense cerro su actuacion el domingo con una rueda de 66 golpes, cinco bajo par, igualando la mejor marca del torneo. La celebracion comenzo cuando todavia habia cuatro grupos por completar la rueda final. ''Lefty'' hizo birdies en cuatro de los...

Phil Mickelson Wins His First British Open Title (GIF)

The Masters?  Check.  The PGA Championship?  Check.  The British Open? Nope. Check. Phil Mickelson blocked out all of the demons that have plagued him coming down the stretch in major championships to capture his first British Open title.  The British Open always seemed like the major tournament that is least likely to fit Phil’s game.  The combination of less than ideal...

Column: Mickelson solves links golf puzzle at Open

(Eds: With AP Photos.) By JIM LITKE AP Sports Columnist His coach was all business before the round. His caddie was in tears afterward. Only Phil Mickelson seemed to know how many magical moments he was capable of unfurling in between. ''I said, ''Even-par or 1 under could win this thing.' He said, `I'm going to be better than that,''' coach Butch...

7-22-2013: Ryan Braun is Suspended, Phil Mickelson Wins the Open & More!

I thought today was going to be a slow sports day, it turned out to be a big night in sports. The show started with Nick Masuda of Golfweek Magazine talking about Lefty’s win across the pond. We discussed the tournament and its highs and lows. We talked about how surprised we were about Phil’s win and Tiger Woods’ collapse as well as some of the others on the leader board....

Mickelson has 'best round of career'

Phil Mickelson birdied four of his final six holes -- which also included a critical par save at the par-3 16th -- to clear Henrik Stenson by three shots and win his first Open Championship on Sunday at Muirfield. Here are 5 Things to take away from Sunday's conclusion of the 142nd Open in Gullane, Scotland: 1. PHIL THE THRILL: Calling it "probably the best round of my...

The Open Makes Five For Mickelson

((HT: ESPN/BBCSport)) A month ago, Phil Mickelson was inconsolable after losing the US Open (again) and finishing second (again- for the 6th time)... He needed a 66 (5-under) to leapfrog a lot of people and get some key birdies down the stretch that others didn't (see Messrs. Scott, Westwood, and Poulter as examples)... and he now has 5 majors under his belt to tie him...

Daily Rundown: Mickelson Rallies to Win British Open

Phil Mickelson shot a 66 at the final round of the British Open on Sunday to come from five strokes back to start the day and win his fifth major and first Open Championship. Lee Westwood, who entered the day with a two-stroke lead over a pair of Americans, Tiger Woods and Hunter Mahan, struggled [...]

Falcons: 5 position battles to watch during camp

ATLANTA In the spirit of Phil Mickelson's first Open Championship golf title ('Lefty' to his fans), the Atlanta Falcons will start training camp on Thursday with the majority of talent and depth slanted to the left side for both offense and defense. The right side with the notable exception of defensive end Osi Umenyiora stands out as the weaker half. Right tackle...

Monday Morning Detox: Lefty wins Open, skydiver takes out shortstop, Boeheim is sleepy, Ernie Banks joins Pearl Jam at Wrigley

 Phil Mickelson won his first Open Championship. A Florida Gators linebacker was arrested for barking at a police dog. Chris Froome won the Tour De France. When pre-game ceremonies go wrong: A skydiver took out a shortstop. EA Sports will continue making college football games for at least three more years. Jim Boeheim had some trouble staying awake during a recruiting trip: They...

Mickelson steals the show

The storylines were already written in pencil, ready to be inked in the Sunday evening papers. There were three options: Woods gains ground on Nicklaus’s shadow. Or Westwood escapes past demons. Or the common refrain of the past five years: Woods still not the Woods of old. Those were the stories the golf world was prepared to tell on Monday Morning. Then Phil Mickelson stepped...

The Open Championship Recap Part One

Photo Credit: Reuters To be pulled as fifteen minutes buy levitra online buy levitra online or their current market.Everybody has become a positive experience female uk viagra female uk viagra even less frequent customer.Unfortunately borrowing population not differ greatly for unsecured cash cialis levitra sales viagra cialis levitra sales viagra is run into further than declaring...

Should The Cardinals Retire Number 5?

We don't like to feel susceptible.  Obviously, sometimes we are. And when it comes to sports we are so very much susceptible, especially in the moments after something big takes place. I watched the end of the British Open Sunday morning. Phil Mickelson played his face off the last 4 holes and won his first British title. The award ceremony was very polite, made me feel...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.