Finally Phil Mickelson lived up to the hype. He played the tournament of his life this weekend at The Master’s. On this day, he was in fact easily golf’s best.
Although he was presented with the legendary Green Jacket on Sunday, Mickelson essentially got fitted for it on Saturday. Three straight holes may one day define his career: Eagle, eagle, and a near miss eagle that he tapped in for birdie on holes 13, 14, and 15, respectively. Sensational shot-making in dominating and convincing fashion.
During Sunday’s final round, Mickelson was not as spectacular as he was on Saturday, but he seemed to be even more in control.
He had a number of challengers: Lee Westwood, who for a while appeared to be cruising toward his first major, finished second. Right behind were Anthony Kim, K.J.Choi, and, of course, Tiger Woods.
Woods made The Master’s his first tournament back from the salacious headlines about his personal life. And of course all eyes were on him. But while he started the tournament as the the lead story, he fittingly faded to an interesting feature at the end.
Tiger finished tied for fourth at 11 under par, five shots behind Mickelson. To finish so well after so much negative attention and pressure is a testament to Woods’ competitive nature. But Tiger’s effort was not enough, and that’s just as well.
Mickelson, who many have criticized and called overrated, changed a lot of minds with the way he played, and maybe changed how we look at his career for the better.
When it was over, Mickelson found his wife and hugged her tightly. She is bravely battling breast cancer; his children wrapped their arms around daddy too.
It was a powerful image that golf is proud to showcase.
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