TROON, SCOTLAND | As legends go, this one is bound to rank near the top of most lists that golf historians ascribe to such things. But after the events had long unfolded at the end of Sunday at the Open Championship, let the debate begin.
Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson engaged in the Battle For Royal Troon on Sunday. They are two players who had different things to prove but who shared the common bond of both being in their 40s, an age group to which most people will say that major championships are not available, Nicklaus notwithstanding.
But they proved that, as it is often said in our game, the golf ball doesn’t know how old you are. Stenson, 40, and Mickelson, 46, played superb, nearly flawless golf, not just in the final round but for 72 holes. That Stenson shot 63 on Sunday was not the entire story. True, it knocked the field on its heels. The third-place finisher, J.B. Holmes, was a mind-boggling 14 shots behind Stenson.
Stenson was 0-for-his-career in major championship victories and he knew all too well that he wouldn’t be playing in these forever and that his chances diminished each year he didn’t win one.
Mickelson, at 46, has five majors to his credit and he might never get a better opportunity than this to have taken No. 6. He shot a no-bogey 65 in the last group on Sunday and lost.
But the PGA Championship starts in 10 days and who better than Mickelson knows how to play a hot hand?
It would certainly add another layer to the legend. READ LATEST ISSUE