COMMENTARY | For those of you who have read my articles in the past, you will know that I am not a fan of Phil Mickelson. If you ask any group of PGA Tour professionals, they will all tell you (in confidence, of course) that Lefty is pompous, arrogant, annoying and borderline rude.
After watching his performance on Sunday at the 2013 Open Championship, however, we can all agree that he is hands-down one of the best players in the history of the game.
Phil Mickelson knew what he needed to do in order to win his first British Open title on Sunday. Shoot somewhere around 67, get to 2-under for the tournament, and you have a great chance at winning the whole damn thing. Muirfield was punishing players on every hole and the tournament leaders were playing more of a survival game than anything else. The field would fall back to Old Man Par, and all Mickelson had to do was stay below even.
I know I'm going to get a lot of flack for being honest with my readers, but Phil Mickelson makes my skin crawl. If I had to choose, I will defend Tiger Woods until the end of time. However, as with any sport, we all have our hometown favorites and our all-time nemeses. Phil is the Ohio State to my Michigan. He is the Chicago Cubs to my White Sox. The New York Jets to my New England Patriots.
On Sunday afternoon, even a Phil Mickelson "hater" like myself could do nothing else but watch with amazement and admiration as he put on a clinic for the ages.
Earlier in the week, I wrote a piece in this space asking the question if Mickelson had peaked too early in his season after winning the Scottish Open. Facts are facts, people: Mickelson hardly wins more than twice in a season and when he does, he almost never wins a major championship. History told me that he shouldn't have won this week at Muirfield, having already won twice this calendar year. His proverbial well had run dry. I had already written him off until 2014.
Well, I guess I'm just going to have to sit here and eat my words, now won't I?
Phil Mickelson is not only one of the greatest golfers any of us will see in our lifetime, but he is also one of the best players in the history of the game. Upon winning his fifth major championship at a venue that has only relinquished major titles to Hall of Famers (including Phil), Mickelson has cemented himself upon the Mount Rushmore of modern golf greatness.
I have never been more pleased to have been proven wrong than I am today.
Adam Fonseca has covered professional golf since 2005. His work can also be found on the Back9Network. Follow Adam on Twitter at @chicagoduffer.
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