Mickelson was the only player who returned an under-par 72-hole score at Muirfield, posting a three-under par effort of 281. Ian Poulter (final-round 67), Adam Scott (72) and Westwood (75) finished four shots behind Mickelson. Hideki Matsuyama (70), Zach Johnson (72) and Tiger Woods (74) finished five back and Francesco Molinari (72) and Hunter Mahan (75) finished six back, rounding out the top ten.
The win was Mickelson’s second in as many weeks, as he conquered his historic links and European golf—where he had never won in his career—woes a few hours north of Muirfield at Castle Stuart Golf Links in Inverness, Scotland, winning the Scottish Open in a playoff over Branden Grace. Undoubtedly, that first win supplied Mickelson with the confidence necessary to succeed on Muirfield’s wind-warped, bouncy turf.
The win was Mickelson’s fifth major, giving him three legs of the Career Grand Slam, a feat only Gene Sarazen, Gary Player, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have achieved in the modern major championship era. The lone hole in Lefty’s major championship résumé is the U.S. Open
Famously, the U.S. Open has been the major championship that has most painfully eluded Mickelson since before he captured his first, the Masters, in 2004. In 1999, the late Payne Stewart made a 15-foot par putt to beat Mickelson by a single stroke at Pinehurst Resort’s No. 2 Course in Pinehurst, N.C. In 2002, at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y., Mickelson was once again runner-up, this time to Tiger Woods, who won by three over Mickelson. Two years later, Mickelson challenged eventual winner Retief Goosen at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y. before faltering over the closing stretch and finishing second by two shots. Two years later, again in New York—this time at Winged Foot Golf Club’s West Course—Mickelson finished in a tie for second a shot behind Geoff Ogilvy after double-bogeying the final hole of the tournament. In 2009, Mickelson finished second (tie) for the second time at a U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, this time two shots behind winner Lucas Glover. And this year, at Merion, Mickelson held the 54-hole lead but shot a lackluster round of 74 to finish two shots behind Justin Rose.
In 2014, the U.S. Open returns to the site of Mickelson’s first runner-up finish: Pinehurst No. 2. There, he will have the chance to conquer his demons in the event and join the list of all-time golf greats who can claim a career Grand Slam.