10 Things I Think…Open Championship Style

by Jeff Skinner

1.  Earlier in his career Phil Mickelson had essentially given up on winning the Open Championship.  His game did not suit links style golf.  His decision to rework his game and develop the mindset to successfully navigate a links course paid off enormously at Muirfield and helped propel his legacy to an even higher level.  Old dogs can learn new tricks…it worked pretty well for Phil.

2.  Tiger Woods’ poor play on the weekends at majors continued.  He hasn’t carded a sub-par round on Saturday or Sunday at any major this year.  And his “go to excuse” of not adjusting to the green speeds is wearing thin.  Every other player putts on the same greens and plenty of their putts fall.

3.  Rory McIlroy’s golf game is in shambles and he admits that.  But let’s understand something here, he’s twenty-four years old.  He’s young but more importantly he has so much talent, so much talent.  Everyone has ups and downs in their life, personally and professionally.  He’ll figure it all out.

4.  Geoff Shackelford made a great point when he said that Phil’s complaining about the Muirfield setup on Thursday may have saved the Open.  Mickelson’s remarks may have been taken to heart by the R&A as the setup did not get more difficult.  Phil’s barking may have made them realize they needed to back off with the difficulty factor which was already very high during the first round.  It worked out pretty well for Phil too.

5.  Jordan Spieth had to be running on fumes at The Open after his playoff win at The John Deere but the nineteen year old played admirably with an opening 69 and 74 to make the cut.  He may have run out of gas but he was playing with house money from the get go and finished T44.

6.  Watching Phil and Amy and kids and Bones celebrate his win as a family was one of the most heartfelt moments of 2013.  Phil’s knack for connecting with fans makes us feel like we know him well.

7.  Is there a better relationship between player and caddie than Phil and Bones? There may be but I doubt it and there certainly isn’t one as public.  Those two are as tight as two guys can be and it shows on days like Sunday.

8.  It was tough to see Lee Westwood lose his lead on Sunday but what a good attitude he has.  “It’s not life and death out there” he said and he doesn’t worry about golf.  He has a great life and knows it, major championship or not.

9.  I know Sean Foley had three players at the top of the leaderboard on Sunday morning but Butch Harmon had the winner on Sunday evening.  He’s the best golf instructor and coach/psychologist on the planet.  He challenged Phil to change his game to suit the venue and Phil captured his first Claret Jug.

10.  Phil wasn’t the only one who had a great Open Championship week.  Through some creative scheduling I was able to see almost all of the Open (all four days) and played six rounds of golf in the past ten days.  Now, if I could just get Butch Harmon to work on my game.


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