It was Mickelson’s fifth major title, tying Byron Nelson and Seve Ballesteros. Phil has now won three of golf’s four majors, excluding the elusive U.S.Open where he has finished runner-up six times. There is something about those painful losses such as the one at Merion that make this guy even more lovable.
After he sank the winning putt at Muirfield, he walked off the green and embraced his wife, Amy, and their three kids with a prolonged hug. Mickelson defintely married up. Amy is one of the classiest Tour wives and is no doubt Phil’s rock during his lowest times, which post-Merion definitely was.
Then to kill time while his nearest challengers finished, he signed hundreds of autographs near the clubhouse. That’s a Mickelson trademark at every Tour event. Before he leaves the property, he will spend a couple of hours signing. Is there any wonder why people love this guy?
Speaking of five majors — that is still the magic number before Tiger Woods can pass Nicklaus for the all-time major championship total. Think about this. Five majors is a career for Mickelson, Ballesteros and Nelson. Here’s another interesting tidbit. Woods has never won a major when trailing after three rounds. Nicklaus, on the other hand, trailed heading into the final round on eight occasions in his 18 major championship wins.
Woods and Mickelson now sit atop the World Golf rankings as No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. It’s hard to gauge the intensity of their rivalry nowadays. These are veterans who have accomplished a variety of things in their careers. Woods once owned the head-to-head match-up in the majors. The scale has tilted in Phil’s favor in the past few years. Both players have distinct fan bases. To their credit, it’s pretty amazing that two veterans are still dominating the sport at this stage in their careers.