Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Will Phil Mickelson Ever Win The US Open?

Second place and its value is often debated in sporting circles. Is being the second best in an event that is at the pinnacle of your sport something you should celebrate, or are you just 'the first loser' as so many call it?

Perhaps it would be wrong to paint it as a total dichotomy, but few cases can encapsulate the ultimate value of winning compared with consistent success than Phil Mickelson and the US Open. A man who has achieved more than most golfers enjoying a superb professional career (which he is still building upon at the age of 43), has won four majors and has been consistently competitive.

He has been consistently competitive at the US Open as well. Mickelson entered last weekend having finished runner up on five occasions and still searching for the Major title that he would perhaps most cherish.

For much of the four days it looked he would finally break his goose egg. On a course that completely defied all expectations of potentially record scores and actually turned into one of the most challenging, difficult and poor scoring tournaments of the 2013 season so far, Mickelson looked comfortable and at home for three days.

The 43-year old led the field through three days of action and entered the final day knowing that a solid outing would secure him that fifth Major and his first at Merion.

Unfortunately for Mickelson he shot a 74 and Britain's Justin Rose shot through in the final round to take a two-shot victory and his first ever Major championship.

32-year old Rose and his exciting talent broke through for an important first Major. Many tip the South African born Englishmen to enjoy prolonged success on the tour over the next decade or so.

It's so often the case with golf that one man's break through is another man's heartbreak. That was certainly the case for Mickelson. Phil has an impressive record of six second-place finishes at the US Open. That record is symbolic of a player who has maintained a place among the game's very best for a prolonged period. A man who deserves to be recognized as one of the top golfers from his era. Still, listening to Mickelson this weekend and seeing Mickelson this weekend, it is pretty clear that he would swap all of those second place finishes for one title.

Maybe being second is better than being the 'first loser', but it's obvious that you can finish second and feel very much like the loser.

Woods Fails Again

Tiger Woods entered the US Open as favorite and promptly disappointed with a weak performance. He was never really in the competition and finished up with an appalling +13. The world no.1 may be playing his best golf in quite some time, but he doesn't look like a man ready to end his major drought, which now dates back five years.

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