Kiawah’s Ocean Course is the closest to Irish links golf you’ll find in America even though it was disappointing that the promised windy last day never materialised.
Keeping errors to a minimum is key. You do that by focusing hard, scrambling hard and intelligent course management which, by the way, doesn’t mean playing safe (unless you really have to, like at the 17th hole). You stand up like a man and play the shots in front of you.
There was nobody better at focusing and ‘managing his game’ this week than Phil Mickelson. Who would have thought that the winning score would be the winner’s running total after he (softly) lost the lead to Koepka at the first hole of the last round?
There was still a lot of work to do, of course, but on the very next (2nd) hole of the final round, Koepka threw his advantage away and undermined his own confidence by taking a sloppy 7. With hindsight, that was the championship. It decided the ultimate destiny of the Wanamaker Trophy.
Without any doubt it’s an inspirational win for the aged. Hard work, staying fit and wanting ‘it’ pays off for those who stay in the game and never give up even if they may think about fading away into oblivion from time to time.
There were plenty of examples that Phil was thinking that way lately: pushing the Saudi League idea for one last big pay day and enquiring about the possibility of a job on TV and languishing in 115th place in the Official World Golf Rankings. Now, he can look back and enjoy his ‘greatest triumph’ – on a par with Tiger’s win at Augusta in 2019 and Jack’s win in 1986.
If Phil can rebuild his ‘all spent’ emotional strength and resolve in time for the US Open in his home backyard in three weeks-time, he could win again, you know. Now, that would definitely put him in the pantheon of the all-time greats.