The 2013 Open Champion: Phil Mickelson

What a great Sunday it was, what a great tournament came to a stunning and thrilling end. I really watched tons of professional tournaments in my life and plenty of majors but these last 3 hours of the 2013 Open Championship in Muirfield really were outstanding and so much fun to watch.

All eyes have been on Lee Westwood who was leading by 3 shots when he teed of today. The course is tough, weather was getting worse, wind came up and nobody expected many birdies throughout the day. Players like Hunter Mahan who was paired with Lee quickly lost some shots and was out of the equation. Same Tiger, he putted really badly, found many bunkers and struggled more than he has wished for. In the end all the eyes have been on Lee and Adam Scott. Then Stenson, the Swede, played brilliant golf and looked like the man who could make the outright lead. It was just not happening – but it was close.

Suddenly another name was in focus; Ian Poulter. He scored eagle, birdie, birdie, birdie on consecutive holes and made his way up the leaderboard. He was fighting with everything he had and unfortunately struggled on the last holes to finish with a +1 for the tournament, five under for the day!

At that point it was just Lee Westwood who was under par. But he began struggling as well, tee shots found bunkers or the deep rough, he needed two bunker shots or wasn’t sinking that important putt. In short, he tried to manage pars rather than birdies.

One other guy instead played a hell of a round. Phil Mickelson played the golf of his career (as he later describes it). It’s a tough and challenging course, especially in such windy weather conditions, but he putted like an angel and ended his round with a remarkable 66 three under par. All he had to do is to wait for the others to finish but I assume he was really sure he made it by then. He and his caddie Bones started crying still on the green. What emotions!

Phil scored big time with this important major! After the Masters wins and the PGA Championship titles this is the third major title he earns to reach the career grand slam. Only the US Open is something Phil is still waiting for – 6 times as the unlucky runner-up!

Phil, his caddie and main man Bones and the Claret Jug… you guys really deserve it! Thanks for this thrilling afternoon!

A Saturday that feels like a Sunday

Today was a classic golf day – if you prefer golf more than anything else and you appreciate a major tournament on TV as much as I do, then this Saturday would have been something for you I bet.

Scotland has summer, that’s the first stunning thing to mention here. Really rare chance for the upcoming DVDs and BlueRays to be produced showing a major tournament staged in Scotland and you see sunshine, brown grass here and there and plenty of Brits with heavy sunburns wearing shorts and sunglasses in the background… that’s really something!

I’ve never been to Muirfield but I believe people who say it’s a tough course. Looking at the scores thoughout the day there were not more than 5 guys in red numbers and the leader stands at -3 for the tournament after day 3. There were not many birdies out there – just the fight for them.

I was watching TV most of the day, I saw Jimenez melting away with a +6, saw Tiger attack and lose, saw Garcia screaming and saw a superbly playing Lee Westwood, who took his chances and scored with unbroken braveness even after bad shots and great recoveries.

Lee is really deserving this, never won a major, playing on top level for so many years now and I guess he is quite a nice guy… I cheer for him tomorrow!! I already cheered for him today, this Saturday felt so much like a Sunday – amazing!!

Mahan, Woods, Scott and Moore, Johnson, Stenson, Cabrera – all these guys still have chances tomorrow. Someone will write history tomorrow, someone will succeed and will lift the Claret Jug into the Scottish air on the 18th tee. I can’t wait for tomorrow!!