The 2013 Open Championship is over and the champion golfer of the year is America’s Phil Mickelson. With a blistering final round of 66 Mickelson finished -3 for the tournament 3 shots from Henrik Stenson.
Throughout the week I kept commenting that I felt that the winner could well come from back in the pack because the course was playing harder as the day went on and the back 9 was also playing very tough.
Before the beginning of the 4th round I commented that:
“Mickelson currently sits at +2 (T-9th) and if there is one man to go out tomorrow and shoot a low score with some aggressive play it is Phil Mickelson. Mickelson is a man on form; he won the Scottish Open the week prior to this week and finished 2nd in the US Open earlier this year………..Before the tournament started I didn’t think Mickelson had much of a chance but it is definitely not beyond Mickelson shooting a 68 (-3) or better and putting himself very much in contention. At 20/1 Mickelson is good value at this stage of the tournament.”
“-1/-2 could be a winning score and that is what the players over par should be looking to finish on to have a chance of winning.”
and although Mickelson finished at -3, a -1 total would have been good enough to win him the championship.
I picked Mickelson before the 4th round as a good value bet for a player to win the tournament and commented that he would have to score at worst a 68 to be in contention by the end of the day. Instead Mickelson played the round of the tournament and shot an incredible 66.
I didn’t fancy Mickelson at the start of tournament because I believed that he didn’t have the game to win the championship (even Mickelson was of that opinion) but he put himself in contention after the 3rd round and produced the goods on the final day. It really was one of the greatest final day performances that you will ever see, in no way did Mickelson back into the tournament he went out and won it. To only score one bogey and six birdies in the final round of a major championship is fantastic golf; to score 4 birdies in your last 6 holes is unbelievable.
I feel sorry for Westwood, he wanted it so badly and put himself in the perfect position going into the final round, yet he blew it. If he goes round in level par he makes a play-off, instead he shot +4 and finished in T-3rd, it is easier said than done (evidently) but if you are a professional golfer and this is potentially the biggest moment of your life, to shoot a 75 in those circumstances is awful and Westwood quite simply bottled it.
What can you say about Adam Scott? He blew the Open last year and allowed Els to nip and take the crown and this year he managed to do the exact same thing. Maybe this is harsh but Scott (much like Westwood) bottled it. After 12 holes he was sitting at -2 and leading the championship by 1 shot from Westwood, Scott then followed that with 4 consecutive bogies, essentially taking himself out of contention. There was no bad luck involved, it was just mental errors as the pressure got too much for him and his game collapsed, finishing T-3rd.
It was the common held belief that by winning the Masters Scott had vanquished his demons of not winning a major, but his performance with 6 holes to go of the Open shows that he still has problems finishing the job.
I knew Hunter Mahan would not win it was not a surprise to me he played so poorly, all you have to do is look at times he has been under massive pressure (Ryder Cup 2010 and US Open 2013) and every time he has blown it, you can now add the Open 2013 to that list.
Mahan shot a generous 75 which included 6 bogeys and an eagle (which made his score seem better than his play). He struggled all day and never really looked like he would seriously challenge and finished a very disappointing T-9th.
I can only describe Woods’ open in one word, disappointing. I really thought he was going to win at the start of the tournament, after the first round, after the second round and after the third round but after his first 6 holes it was evident that it just wasn’t going to happen.
It is weird for Woods to put himself in contention and then put up absolutely no fight as far as winning the competition goes. You kept waiting for Woods to do something special this week and yet it just never came, he was always so close to shooting a really good score but sloppy play or a bit of bad luck kept getting in his way.
This was a chance lost for Woods, he shot a 74 (his worst round of the week) and finished +2 (5 behind Mickelson) which on the final round of a major is just not good enough. I don’t think that he bottled it, it felt more like he just played really poorly which possibly more is concerning. It used to be the case that Tiger kept his best for the final round of a major that no longer is the case. Sadly for Tiger the people who claim he is past it or no longer has the bottle will only gain louder voices, which can only be bad for his mind-set.
I thought Stenson over the piece had a great tournament finishing outright 2nd on E. Stenson went out and played a solid final round, nothing special but he did not take himself out of it (like many others did) and that is commendable. When you consider so many of the other main competitors shot over par, Stenson was the only player (+1 or better) who scored under par (-1).
Unlike Mahan, Westwood, Scott and even Woods, Stenson did not bottle it, I thought at the beginning of the day he would have to shoot 69 to have a chance and although he only shot 70 that was good enough to finish in front of everyone but one man (who played like a man possessed). Stenson can walk away from the Open with his head held high and also walk away a better player from the experience, I don’t think any of the other leaders (going into the final day could claim that).
I’m sure if you had told Ian Poulter at the end of the day he would be in a tie with Westwood and ahead of Woods he would have thought he would be in a play-off for the Open Championship, instead he finished a highly respectable T-3rd.
I had read reports that Pulter felt that he was still in it before the beginning of the round even though he was 8 shots off the lead. I thought that it was typical Poulter arrogance (I’m not a fan) and he didn’t have a chance in hell. He proved me wrong and played quite outstandingly throughout the day. If it weren’t for Mickelson then everyone would be talking about Poulter’s early charge for the title and how he just fell short but in doing so showed glimpses of the golfer he has the potential to be when he gets hot.
Pre-tournament I made 5 tips on who to be on for the Open Championship and recommended betting each way. They were Tiger Woods (T-6th) who disappointed, Brandt Snedeker (T-11th) who ruined his chances with a 2nd round 79, Jason Dufner (T-26th) who never looked like doing anything until a 4th round 67 when it was too late, Martin Laird (T-44th) who blew his chances with a 3rd round 81 and Luke Donald who missed the cut.
After the 2nd round I made three further tips based on their new odds and again recommended betting each way. They were Henrik Stenson (2nd) who finished just behind the excellent Mickelson, Francesco Molinari (T-9th) who never really took it to that next level and Martin Laird again.
After the 3rd round I made three more tips based on their final odds for the tournament (recommending each way again). They were Phil Mickelson (1st) who won the tournament, Francesco Molinari again and also Brandt Snedeker again.
Overall I had 8 picks (plus 3 players twice) and of those 8 five finished in the top 11, which isn’t too bad. It is made even better considering I tipped Mickelson before the final round at 20/1 (although I did see him at 28/1 elsewhere). As I have already commented I thought someone from deeper into the draw would be able to post a score and win as the leaders fell back and I felt Mickelson’s game suited doing this the best, and so it turned out. If you bet each way on either Woods or Stenson you also would have received a return.
I thought that the 2013 Open Championship was an excellent week of golf and once again showed not only that the best golf courses in the world are found in the great country of Scotland but also that this is the greatest golf competition in the world. The British crowds really are the best in the world and it is nice to watch a golf tournament where every other shot is followed by ‘get in the hole’ (there were some idiots).
Phil Mickelson was a deserving champion and really played the perfect round of golf to win the championship. I am glad that Mickelson didn’t back into it and rather went out and won it, which is good for the Championship, as is the winner being a well-known and well deserving star.
A special shout out to the Scottish Open which Mickelson won the week before. It is played on a links course the week before and is in my opinion the perfect pre-tournament preparation for the Open. It was perfect for Mickelson going into the Open, with 3 days of nice weather before a very windy final day at the Scottish Open, preparing him for the changing conditions that are so common day to day at links courses. You also cannot replicate playing competitive golf in these conditions regardless of how many practices you play. If you listen/read Mickelson’s comments about the final green he references how he 3 putted the final green (when he should have 2 putted) at the Scottish putting himself in a play-off and how he knew that he could not risk doing that again. Although he holed the putt, the experience the week prior made him think twice about being too greedy and forcing a birdie putt. That is the greatness of Mickelson’s win, he knew he wasn’t the best links player so forced himself to play links golf (Scottish Open) and in doing so it helped him prepare perfectly for the biggest win of his career. Add onto Mickelson that Stenson (who finished 2nd) also played in the Scottish Open (finishing 3rd and throwing away a lead in the final round) it should surely be a glamorous tournament next year with other players following the Mickelson/Stenson path.
So that is my round up of the Open Championship, what did you think of this year’s Open? Was Mickelson a worthy winner? Was there any players you were disappointed in? Let me know and leave a comment. Thanks.