In constructing what should be indelibly etched in history as one of the greatest final rounds in major championship history, Phil Mickelson moved into illustrious company.
Mickelson has five majors to his name, a statistic that places him alongside Seve Ballesteros, Peter Thomson and Byron Nelson in the golfing annals. The appearance of Ballesteros on that list is especially pertinent, given the swashbuckling style which links he and Mickelson.
There is now a legitimate debate to be had regarding Mickelson's status among the greatest players of all time, if such a discussion did not exist before. Basic fact resonates in Mickelson joining golf's elite – Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player et al – by winning an Open at Muirfield.
He has claimed three of golf's four majors and is not finished yet; an Open Championship, which Mickelson has always regarded as the game's stiffest challenge, had previously seemed unlikely. It would be a surprise if the 43-year-old did not complete a major clean sweep before retirement, notwithstanding his historic agonies in the US Open.
"I'm playing some of the best golf of my career," Mickelson said. "This is the best I have ever putted. Today will be one of the most memorable rounds I have ever played. It's probably the greatest and most difficult win of my career. It is great to be part of any Open Championship and to win at Muirfield feels amazing."
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