What a performance by Swede Henrik Stenson to win his first major, and the first male player to ever win a major from Sweden. Outside of Mickelson, Stenson blew the field away with a clinic of ball striking and putting. Stenson has been a fixture in the world’s top 10 for years, and has contended in majors several times.
His ball striking has always been good, but his putting sometimes held him back. Not this week – he played out of his mind. Stenson is 40, but these days that’s still young enough to be an elite player for several more years in golf. Sweden can be very proud of the Stenson performance. His 4th round 64 was one of the greatest final rounds in major championship golf. It had to be because Mickelson was incredible himself finishing with a 65.
- In his career, Phil Mickelson has been criticized sometimes for losing majors. He didn’t lose this major. Mickelson was brilliant and was 11 shots clear of the field. If not for Stenson, this would have been called one of the greatest major performances in history. What can you say? Mickelson was great, Stenson was just a little bit better. Here is a pretty incredible statistic. Mickeslon has a Top 3 in a major every year he’s been in his 40s, and he’s 46 now. I don’t know if Mickelson will win another major, but he sure isn’t done contending in them.
- When two players dominate a tournament the way Mickelson and Stenson did, the rest of field has to be looked at differently. For Dustin Johnson, he finished more than 15 shots back, but it was still a T9. At the moment Johnson, I think you have to call Johnson the world’s best player. That’s 4 straight top 10 majors including a U.S. Open win. He’s a big time threat at the PGA Championship.
- Rory Mcilory also had a solid T5. We are settling into where Mcilory will be most of his career. He’s not the next Tiger Woods, but he should consistently contend in majors for the next 2 decades.
- Jordan Spieth and Jason Day both ended up in the top 30, but never really threatened this week. I don’t think there is anything to worry about here. It’s difficult to contend in every major. There’s just too many good players, that if you’re off that week – good luck. That said and this goes for Mcilory too, if Speith and Day don’t win a major this year, it would be a season of slight disapointment.
- Poor Sergio Garcia – At T5 it was his 2nd top 5 in a major this year. That is 22 top 10′s in major without a win. Garcia may well be on his way to being one of the greatest players ever to never win a major. If he could just get than first one, he could win 3 or 4 in his career. He should take inspiration from Stenson’s win though. Stenson at age 40 just won his first major.
- The PGA Championship is in 2 weeks. That is a little earlier than in most years, because of the Olympics. It should be great. Day, Mcilory, Johnson, Speith are your big 4, but veterans like Mickelson, Garcia, and Stenson are playing well too. I’m expecting a lot of big names to contend in this one.