As Phil Mickelson captured the 2013 Open Championship with an inspiring finish, several golfers were left watching in disappointment.
In a wide-open tournament where nobody other than the champion finished under par, it seemed like the perfect time for someone to steal one at Muirfield. While Mickelson ultimately heated up and put the competition in the dust, several other players desperate for a major left a golden opportunity on the table.
From the one guy that we all know too well is looking to break his dry spell to another trying to overcome past heartbreak, and one just trying to win his first major, some prominent golfers stumbled on Sunday with everything hanging in the balance.
Tiger Woods (3-over in Round 4)
Of course we're starting with Tiger Woods.
The golfing universe revolves around Woods, so expectations were stacked sky-high as Woods stood in reach of snapping his major drought. Entering Sunday down two shots, one stroke of brilliance was all that separated the polarizing figure from his 15th major.
All the talk of this finally being Woods' day quickly dissipated as he scored three bogeys during his first six holes. The low point of his day came when he failed to convert a five-foot putt.
GolfChannel.com's Jason Sobel was among many surprised to see a legend miss a gimmie shot.
That's gotta be one of the worst short chip shots that Tiger Woods has ever hit. It's at least in the discussion.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) July 21, 2013
There's a reason this feels like deja vu; Woods has made an ugly habit lately of faltering in the final two rounds after starting on a much brighter note (via SportsCenter's Twitter account).
Tiger Woods' last 6 majors: 1st and 2nd round: -11 (7 rounds under par) 3rd and 4th round: +23 (8 rounds over par)— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 21, 2013
As a result, Woods will have to wait a bit longer to win his first major since 2008.
Lee Westwood (4-over in Round 4)
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.
That label will only grow stickier after Lee Westwood squandered a two-shot lead entering the final round. Looking to finally solve the riddle that is the majors, the veteran fell short yet again of capturing his first big win.
Westwood sweltered on the last day, falling to a three-way tie for third place at one over par. This adds yet another chapter to his string of close-but-no-cigar finishes, and ESPN's Justin Ray is put in perspective just how often the 40-year-old falls painfully short.
Lee Westwood now has 8 top-3 finishes in majors (all since 2008), most by anyone in modern era without a win. #TheOpen— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) July 21, 2013
Not to kick Westwood while he's down, but here's a tweet from Numbers Never Lie to kick him more while he's down.
This is Lee Westwood's 62nd appearance in a Major-- the MOST of any player in #TheOpen field who has not won a Major championship.— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) July 21, 2013
And one more, from The Star Ledger's Steve Politi.
My son wants to watch Peppa Pig. I told him if he wants to see someone with a British accent fall down, he can watch Lee Westwood.— Steve Politi (@StevePoliti) July 21, 2013
Angel Cabrera (3-over in Round 4)
Three months ago, Angel Cabrera stood within arm's distance of snatching the Masters. Before he could reel in his third major, Adam Scott bested him in a sudden-death playoff.
Three months after that crushing defeat, Cabrera exited round three just one over par, which put him well in striking distance of Westwood. Cabrera still had a chance to win his third different major, which would have put him among elite company.
Instead, he continued the downward trend of worsening his score during each round. Cabrera shot a 74 on the final day to fall out of the top 10.
At least Cabrera has two past majors to his credit without any of the blistering expectations Woods has to face. In fact, the Argentinian usually exceeds expectations when it counts the most. Let's bring Sobel back to sum up his disbelief at Cabrera's past major success.
It's a major week, so expect to see... oh, wait. There it is. Angel Cabrera's name is on the leaderboard.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) July 18, 2013
Well, you can't win them all.