Phil Mickelson Gains Golfing Immortality with Open Win at Muirfield

Fred AltvaterContributor IIJuly 18, 2016

GULLANE, SCOTLAND - JULY 21:  Phil Mickelson of the United States holds the Claret Jug as he answers questions after winning the 142nd Open Championship at Muirfield on July 21, 2013 in Gullane, Scotland.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Phil Mickelson took a huge step in cementing his legacy into golfing immortality. His win at the 2013 Open Championship now ties him with John Henry Taylor, James Braid and Seve Ballesteros with five career major victories.

Jack Nicklaus leads the list of major winners with 18, and Tiger Woods has been stuck on 14 since 2008. Bobby Jones (13), Walter Hagen (11), Ben Hogan (9), Gary Player (9), Tom Watson (8), Harry Vardon (7), Gene Sarazen (7), Arnold Palmer (7) and Nick Faldo (6) are still ahead of Mickelson, but his name becomes enrolled in a very exclusive club.

Since 1892, the Open Championship has been held at Muirfield Golf Club on 15 previous occasions, and nearly every one has been won by a golfing legend. There are no fluke wins at Muirfield.

Ted Ray, Lee Trevino, Ernie Els, Vardon, Braid, Hagen, Player, Nicklaus, Watson and Faldo all won Open Championships at Muirfield.

Mickelson has 51 official professional wins and is ranked No. 9 all time on the PGA Tour with 42 titles. He won a PGA Tour event while still an amateur and is one of the most charismatic and popular players in golf.

Once again, Muirfield has seen one of the golfing greats win an Open Championship on its hallowed and historic links.

Mickelson’s Open Championship win also gives him the third leg of a career Grand Slam. Only 10 others have won three of the major championships during their golfing careers.

Jones, Nicklaus, Woods, Hogan, Player and Sarazen are the only players to have ever won all four major championships over the course of their playing careers.  

Although Mickelson has never won the U.S. Open, he has been runner-up on six occasions. He is now 43 years old and is still playing some of the best golf of his career. If he could somehow add a U.S. Open win to his resume, he would also add his name to a very short list of players to have won the career Grand Slam.

Mickelson was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012, but it appears his best golf is not yet behind him.

Can he still add a U.S. Open and complete his career Grand Slam?