Phil Mickelson was so impressive on his way to a fifth major championship on Sunday that it's difficult to really put what he did into perspective. Muirfield was a fast and firm monster, spitting golf balls off the green and fairways and swallowing them hole in the rough and bunkers, but Lefty was able to tame the beast for his first British Open win. We should never be too surprised when Phil pulls off a performance like this, but five days later it still amazes me how well he played that back nine. He only bogeyed one hole, will birdying four enroute to a -3 and a Claret Jug.
He's been on the press circuit this week, and his 12 minute interview with Dan Patrick on Tuesday was the best of the week. Some highlights:
What the win meant to him:
"It was one of the most emotional weeks for us."
"(Winning the British Open) was the biggest accomplishment of my career. It was a tournament and style of golf I never grew up playing. I had to relearn as I went along and it took me a couple of decades to be able to come out on top and I wasn't sure if I ever could."
"The toughest loss of my career (was) at the US Open. It took me a few days just lying in bed to get over it."
"I'm starting to play some of the best golf of my career."
Playing at Muirfield:
"Not carrying a driver and taking the temptation to hit driver out my head retrained my thought process."
"When I was 14 I first hit a 60 degree lofted wedge and it changed my game. Since then, this 3 wood (Callaway) has changed my game more than any other club in my bag because I am a high-spin player, which is why I struggle at the British Open. This 3 wood is a low spinning 3 wood."
"When it went in (on 18), I knew it was over. Those holes were so tough down the stretch...how I birdied them I don't know...I knew if I made par I was going to win the British Open. I thought if I bogeyed it I still might."
"Since being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, I've had to make some life changes...dietary changes...daily excercise/work outs...I've had to refocus my practice."
"Math and science is a huge part of my success, working with the Callaway engineers."
Great quotes, but that's nothing new out of Phil. If he was this emotional after winning the British Open, just imagine what it will be like if/when he wins the U.S. Open and completes his career Grand slam. It's crazy that Phil didn't win his first major until he was 33, but has won 5 in the last 10 years. He's getting better with age.