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Phil Mickelson never expected to win a British Open in his career. Even after he secured the Claret Jug on Sunday with a five-under 66 that he called "probably the best round of my career," Mickelson seemed surprised, in a way, at his own excellence. During the championship ceremony, he said:

Where does the British Open championship put Mickelson on the list of all-time greats? Suddenly, he's a lot closer to the top.

Two days ago, Mickelson was still already one of the greatest golfers of his era, sitting just inside the second cut—if you will—of the best players of all time. Phil had won four major titles and had collected a career's worth of second-place finishes, including six at the U.S. Open, a major he has yet to win. 

When Mickelson finished second in the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion after holding the 54-hole lead, he told reporters that all he felt was "heartbreak." No one, not even Mickelson, thought his major championship redemption would have come so soon. 

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Phil Mickelson is a sayer of sooths.

After the third round of the 2013 British Open, Mickelson sat down with ESPN's Tom Rinaldi and said he thought the champion would finish at even par, with one over par good enough to get into a playoff. Mickelson said if he could shoot a round in the 60s—he was four back at the time and finished the third round five off the lead—he would put himself in a position to win.

Rinaldi cackled at the absurdity of it all—not only that Mickelson could know the number he would need on Sunday to win the major championship no one—including Phil—ever thought he would win, but also that Mickelson knew the number before a dozen players had even finished their rounds for the day.

It turns out, he was right. Of course he was right.

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Early in his second round at the 2013 British Open, Tiger Woods hit, by his standards, a poor approach into one of Muirfield's increasingly treacherous greens. Woods chuckled and flashed a sarcastic, toothsome grin while the ball was in flight before blurting out, "aw, fffff..." as it landed. 

Watching the coverage on television, viewers were unsure how that utterance finished, as ESPN's coverage quickly flashed away from the camera on Woods. The shot certainly was an "aw, fffff" moment for the world's top-ranked player, though it was one of just a few in his even-par round of 71.

At the time he finished his round, Woods was just three back of lead, with half the field still to play its second round of 18 holes at Muirfield. (Update: Woods now trails leader Miguel-Angel Jimenez by just one stroke going into Round 3.) It was a typical major championship grind for Woods, who may finally be showing signs of getting back to what typical, for him, used to be. 

The conditions at Muirfield have been giving the players fits, from the change in wind direction—most players did not have a chance to practice with wind like they saw on Friday—to greens that are much faster than the players traditionally expect from an Open Championship, to rough that can reach up to the players' waists.

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In golf, all things are relative. 

If someone put on the early morning coverage of the Open Championship on Thursday and watched only Rory McIlroy, this would have looked like the hardest tournament in years.

With a steady but relatively light wind, McIlroy could not find the fairway all day, hitting just five fairways in his round and repeatedly landing in the wheat-like rough off the tee. He finished at eight-over 79.

McIlroy's Nike shoes must have been loaded with sand, as he was unable to avoid the greenside bunkers on several holes. When he did find the green, McIlroy struggled to find the cup, pulling many putts to the left, missing the hole completely. 

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Sepp Blatter loves a good party.

In order for the 2022 World Cup to be the type of party the current FIFA president will want to attend, he has come to the (not) shocking (in any way) realization that Qatarin the summer—may not be the best place to boogie down.

According to ESPNFC.com, Blatter notes, "If this World Cup is to become a party for the people, you can’t play football in the summer. You can cool down the stadiums, but you can’t cool down the whole country."

Right now, as I type this story, it is 95 degrees in Doha, Qatar. It "feels like" 113. The past 24 hours of precipitation, per weather.com, is "not applicable."

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Phil Mickelson has always held a tremendous flair for the dramatic. With the Open Championship at Muirfield beginning Thursday, Lefty has another chance this summer to make people take notice. 

After Mickelson won the Scottish Open last week for his first victory in Europe since 1993, it seems pretty clear that there are only two potential outcomes this week: Phil will win the whole damn thing or miss the cut…again. 

Mickelson has a horrible record at the Open Championship. He has just two top-five finishes in his career—third place in 2004 and tied for second in 2011—with four missed cuts in his 18 tournament entries and an average finish of 36th place in those in which he did make the cut, finishing 40th or worse six times (not counting amateur result). Even when Phil makes the cut, he is rarely at the top of the Open leaderboard.

Why would this year be any different? Well, maybe Phil is different.

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Citi Field in New York is ready for some long-ball action, and you at home can be too. It's Home Run Derby time!

If you turn up the volume really loud on Monday night, you might hear all the amazing Derby sounds. The buzz of anticipation from the crowd. The crack of the bat. The pop of the glove for every ball a hitter lets go by in an effort to find that perfect pitch.

The pop of another pitch he let go by. And another pitch…and another…and for the love of God, man, just swing at the next damn ball before we all fall asleep! 

Of course, be careful how loud you turn up those speakers. Chris Berman is back, back, back calling the Home Run Derby for yet another year. ESPN brass should probably stay off the Internet for a few hours.

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Major League Baseball is eating itself from within. As the Biogenesis probe continues to make headlines in the days leading up to MLB's marquee event of the summer, it's becoming more and more likely that the real story at the 2013 All-Star Game will be about the players who aren't in New York instead of those who are.

Alex Rodriguez is reportedly meeting with MLB investigators Friday to discuss his knowledge of and involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. According to multiple reports, Rodriguez is one of 20 players who could be suspended for his connection to the Miami wellness clinic. Reports suggest that Rodriguez—clearly one of the two biggest fish in this PED pond with Milwaukee slugger Ryan Braun—could be suspended for up to 100 games.

Could be suspended. Could, or to employ the terms ESPN has used, "is expected to" and is "considering." 

Read through this important text from ESPN.com's story on the case after Braun was surrounded at his locker by reporters and repeatedly—and rather calmly—sidestepped specifics of the case:

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The 2013 MLB All-Star Game will be held at Citi Field in New York this season, and while David Wright has been given the keys to the game as honorary ambassador for the Mets, it's one of his teammates, Matt Harvey, who should be the first guy with the ball.

Across town, Mariano Rivera is halfway through his year-long retirement tour to end an illustrious Hall of Fame career, and despite coming out and stating he doesn't want to start the All-Star Game, well…tough. It makes too much sense for him not to. 

"What I do is close the games, I don't start the games. It's a privilege and honor, but I'm not contemplating it," he told ESPNNewYork.com's Michael Mazzeo.

The quote is both magnanimous and entirely expected from the Yankee great, but it's still the wrong decision.

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For the 12th consecutive year, MLB fans have been given the keys to the All-Star Game, not only voting for the starters for each league, but also getting the opportunity to vote for the last player left on the playground who gets to represent his city in the Midsummer Classic. 

Since 2002, five players from each league have been put into a gimmicky "last player in" vote to make the All-Star Game. When it started, the Final Vote was actually a pretty great idea to get fans more involved and create a few days of buzz leading up to the game. Now, MLB needs to come up with something new or reboot what they've created. 

The Final Vote has become a bit of a joke. 

Yes, the Final Vote does have a positive result, as the process gets another player on the All-Star team for each league, which is an incredible honor for two men…or three or four or six men. Hell, why doesn't MLB just let them all in this season? It seems like it's getting closer to that every year anyway.