By Paul Myers
Phil Mickelson is no stranger to finishing second in major championships. In the U.S. Open alone, Mickelson has finished second an incredible six times. Most famously, Mickelson lost out on a chance to win the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in 2006 when he made double bogey on the final hole to lose by one to Geoff Ogilvy. In that case, Mickelson made costly mistakes late that caused him to miss out on the trophy. However, when it comes to his performance in the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon, Mickelson cannot be blamed in any way. He played nearly flawless golf all week long – but Henrik Stenson was simply better.
Stunning Play from Stenson
Incredibly, Henrik Stenson managed to shoot 20 under par over the course of four rounds in the 145th playing of The Open Championship. His final round score of 63, capped by a birdie on the 18th, will certainly go down as one of the great rounds in the history of golf. No golfer has ever gone lower than 63 in any major, so producing that level of golf under tremendous pressure is an amazing effort. In the process, Stenson became the first Swedish man to claim a major title in golf, joining Annika Sorenstam who had previously done so in the women’s game.
A Two Horse Race
To highlight the incredible caliber of golf played by both Stenson and Mickelson (who finished 17 under), the next best player in the field was J.B. Holmes, who posted a total of six under par for the week. Stenson outpaced the third place player by a shocking 14 shots, and Mickelson was 11 clear of third himself. By any measure, this was one of the classic performances by two players in major championship history. Only 17 players in total were able to break par for the week, so it wasn’t a case of the course being particularly easy. Against on the best fields in all of golf, Stenson and Mickelson were able to carve out their own tournament that was a thrill to watch for golf fans around the world.
More to Come
Due to the Olympics, the summer schedule for the top golfers in the world is incredibly crowded in 2016. There will be just one week between majors, as the RBC Canadian Open is going to be played July 21 – 24 and then it will be on to Baltusrol GC for the PGA Championship. Jason Day is the defending champion at the year’s last major, and there will be plenty of big names aiming to take that trophy from him in Springfield, NJ. Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy would certainly each like to get their name on the board of 2016 major champions, and Dustin Johnson would love to add the PGA title to his U.S. Open. As most of the top players have decided to pass on the Olympic competition in Rio, this will be the last chance to see most of the top players in one place until the PGA Tour Playoffs get underway.