Phil Mickelson accomplished the unthinkable on Sunday capturing his first Open Championship and his second consecutive victory in as many weeks.
Mickelson’s major tally is now five (3 Masters, 1 PGA and 1 Open Championship) with only the United States Open missing to complete the career grand slam. Phil will return to Pinehurst, site of one of his 6 runner-up performances in the U.S. Open in 2014 with a chance to join golf immortality.
Nicklaus, Hogan, Snead, Sarazen and Woods are the only five players to win all of golf’s modern major championships. Winning his 5th career major title, Mickelson joins Peter Thomson, J.H. Taylor, Byron Nelson, James Braid and Seve Ballesteros and one shy of Trevino and Faldo who won 6 major championships.
Playing in the Tiger Woods Era has undoubtedly overshadowed the accomplishments of several players, Mickelson being arguably the most affected. Mickelson has 51 professional worldwide victories to go with 6 excruciating losses in the United States Open. He’s never reached the top position in the World Golf Ranking and never been awarded the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year Award.
Mickelson isn’t alone however as a player to be overshadowed by Woods’ dominance. Ernie Els has won 70 times across the globe, including 4 major championships (2 Opens and 2 US Opens). In 2000 Els had the painful distinction of being runner-up in three straight major championships. Both players may finish their careers among the greatest of all time with a position just outside the group of Hogan, Nicklaus, Jones and Tiger Woods.