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Mickelson is the golfer we all dream of being

Will TideyJuly 22, 2013
Mickelson celebrates a birdie at the last © Getty Images

As those around him winced and wilted, Phil Mickelson squared up to Muirfield's might and swung as free as his arms would let him.

His 66 was astounding. It was a marriage of sublime talent and absolute belief - an exercise in making a heroic vision your reality. Where it ranks among the all-time great final rounds will be debated for decades, but there can be no argument that it was rightly rewarded.

Mickelson didn't just win the Open on Sunday; he swept to magnificent glory. Twack, green. Thwack, fairway. Roar, birdie. Aged 43, when he should rightfully be hanging on, Mickelson's maverick talent scaled a new summit.

Four birdies in the last six holes, on a wickedly hard course where only one player finished under par through 72. Is there a more fitting way to join Severiano Ballesteros on five majors?

Mickelson holds aloft the Claret Jug © Getty Images

If only Lee Westwood shared Mickelson's conviction. Having let another chance slide, Westwood will be kept awake at night knowing he should have been more proactive.

In the end, Sunday wasn't about Westwood at all. It was about a masterful shot-maker doing something all golfers and golf fans dream of as children - winning a major down the stretch with an exhibition of gung-ho genius.

As an Englishman I naturally wanted Westwood or Poulter to win. But Mickelson, for his conjuring brilliance, has always been the golfer I wished I could be.

There have been better players, who've won more tournaments and seen less heartache, but only one golfer I've seen can match Phil for his romantic combination of grace, guts and guile.

That man was Seve. One more major for Phil and he'll move beyond him.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

Writer Bio

Will has covered Tour events. majors and Ryder Cups and interviewed the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Rory McIlroy. He once inhaled the cigar smoke of the coolest man in golf, Miguel Angel Jimenez, while watching sports cars tear around Brands Hatch. As a left-handed hacker he's been humiliated at esteemed venues including Carnoustie, Wentworth, Kiawah Island and Pinehurst No. 2.

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