GULLANE, Scotland (AP) — The celebration started when Phil Mickelson rolled in his final birdie putt, with hands raised high in the air and a tearful caddie just waiting to be hugged. It quickly turned into a victory lap, even as the players he’d already beaten struggled to finish what was left of their disappointing day.
There were, of course, hugs for his picture perfect wife and his equally charming children — and lots of them. Congratulations to accept from most anyone near the 18th green, and plenty of smiles for the thousands gathered in the grandstands.
Then, with even more time to kill before he was officially declared champion of the one tournament he feared he would never win, Mickelson did what only Mickelson would do — he began signing autographs.
Hold onto them because they might be worth something someday. The guy with the goofy grin who once seemed destined never to win a major now seems intent on playing his way into golfing lore.
No, he’s not Tiger Woods. Never will be, though that’s not really such a bad thing.
But he did play one of the greatest rounds you’ll ever see Sunday under treacherous conditions in the final round of the British Open. And it may be time to stop thinking about him as a player who sometimes can’t think straight on the course and start the discussion about where he ranks among the greats of the game.
With five major championships now, he’s in the mix. Toss in one of those six U.S. Opens he came so agonizingly close to winning and he might even be there now.
Only five players have the career Grand Slam, and they have last names like Nicklaus, Woods and Hogan. If one day Mickelson joins them there, his legacy will be set.
“I think that if I’m able to win the U.S. Open and complete the career Grand Slam, I think that that’s the sign of the complete great player,” Mickelson said. “I’m a leg away. And it’s been a tough leg for me.”
If it’s any consolation, this one was always tough, too.
Mickelson took a long time to acclimate to golf across the pond, a long time to figure out that the grass that grows over here is different from the stuff that grows on the finely manicured country clubs back home. For years he tried to hit shots he had no business trying to hit, and for years he struggled to even get in contention in the oldest major of them all.
This wasn’t shaping up as the year he was going to figure it all out, either. Not after yet another heartbreaking loss at the U.S. Open at Merion, where he had a one-shot lead going into the final round only to kick it away with two bad wedges on the back nine.
“It could have easily gone south, where I was so deflated I had a hard time coming back,” Mickelson acknowledged. “But I looked at it and thought I was playing really good golf. I had been playing some of the best in my career. And I didn’t want it to stop me from potential victories this year and some potential great play. And in a matter of a month I’m able to change entirely the way I feel.”
He may have also changed entirely the way some in golf feel about him. While fans love Mickelson for his smile, his easy way with autographs and his daredevil style, there’s always been a feeling he’s given away as many tournaments as he’s won. His career-defining moments all pretty much revolved around the Masters and before Sunday he didn’t have an Open to his name.
A round for the ages took care of that. On a breezy afternoon off the coast of Scotland, Lefty did what seemed impossible, making four birdies in the last six holes to run the table at Muirfield. He closed it out with two of the best 3-woods of his life back-to-back on the par-5 17th hole and an iron to No. 18 to set up his final birdie.
He went so low so fast that Adam Scott — who had held the lead — thought the scoreboard was playing tricks on him when he glanced up at it a few times on the back nine.
“Best round I’ve ever seen him play,” said caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay, who was so caught up in the win he was crying on the 18th green.
That he played it at the age of 43 is a testament to Mickelson’s work ethic as well as his talent. He wants to win badly, and he’s willing to put the effort into it, even if some of his ideas about competing — like playing the first round of the U.S. Open after flying overnight to get there so he could be at his daughter’s eighth-grade graduation — are, in the world of golf, a bit unorthodox.
Mickelson didn’t win a major until he was 34, going 0-for-42 in them before breaking through at the Masters. While he probably won’t catch Woods and his 14 majors, Woods only leads him 6-5 in major titles over the last decade.
And while Woods is stuck on his number, Mickelson seems intent on adding to his haul.
“I joke around all the time,” Mackay said, “when he’s 60 on the putting green at Augusta, he’s going to say, ‘I got a chance.’”
Hard to imagine, but there was a time this win would have been, too. Now, anything seems possible for Mickelson.
That should be reason to celebrate, too.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg
Grimes confirms she’s still living with Elon Musk amid break-up reports
It may be the end of the road for their three-year-long relationship, but singer Grimes is still living with billionaire ex-boyfriend Elon Musk.
According to last month’s Page Six report, Musk had shared with the celebrity news portal that he and Grimes are “semi-separated.” Citing distance as the primary cause for their split, he confirmed that they are still in love with each other and on great terms.
“We are semi-separated but still love each other, see each other frequently ..
Soon after the reports, the 33-year-old Canadian songwriter said the paparazzi have been chasing her the entire week. “I was really stressed when paparazzi wouldn’t stop following me this week,” she wrote on Instagram on Sunday.
After a stressful week, Grimes decided to pull a prank on the paparazzi. Dressed in a brown intergalactic outfit with a matching hooded jacket, she posed with Karl Marx’s ‘Communist Manifesto’ in Los Angeles on Friday.
Her choice of the book confused many, and the pictures started doing rounds on social media.
She further clarified that she isn’t a communist despite “smart ideas in the book.”
“Personally, I’m more interested in a radical Decentralized Universal Basic ..
Mickelson’s wife recalls last year’s dramatic Masters
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Phil Mickelson waited at the bottom of the ninth fairway for the green to clear when he looked over to his left and broke into a big smile. He touched two fingers to his eyes, then pointed them toward a blond woman in a royal blue dress.
Amy Mickelson laughed and waved back.
“I can’t believe how much I’ve missed this place,” she said Friday.
Her time at the Masters last year was short, yet sweeter than ever. On a golf course for the first time since being diagnosed with breast cancer 11 months earlier, she came out to the 18th green to watch her husband make one last birdie to win a third green jacket.
Their embrace outside the scoring hut provided one of the most compelling images of the Masters.
This year has been just as enjoyable, even as Mickelson squandered several good birdie chances and had to settle for a 72, leaving him well behind in his pursuit of another win.
She feels good enough, strong enough, to be back amid the beauty of Augusta National. She walked 18 holes while being constantly interrupted by fans who welcomed her back, wished her the best or just wanted to say they were thinking of her.
“We love this place,” she said. “This place has been a part of some of the most special days of our lives. And it feels normal to be back, which is even better. I’m trying not focus on how I feel, because I still have some ups and downs. But when I look back to year ago and see how far I’ve come, it’s just tremendous.”
She spent all week last year in Augusta, but rarely left the house.
Even so, Mickelson felt at peace having his wife and three children with him at the Masters. He took one or more of his kids to breakfast and played board games before it was time to go to the course. His wife stayed home with Jennifer Mackay, one of her best friends and the wife of caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay.
They were watching the final round when Mickelson, leading by one shot, put his tee shot into the Georgia pines to the right of the fairway on the par-5 13th. Then came the signature shot of last year’s Masters – Mickelson going for the green from the pine straw, through a gap in the trees, the ball barely clearing Rae’s Creek and settling 4 feet away.
“That’s kind of when we knew we could probably come out to the course,” she said.
“Phil loves to share moments like that.”
The only other tournament she attended this year was the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, a short drive from their home. That was his best event of the year until he won last week at the Houston Open.
Asked about seeing his wife in the gallery at the Masters for the first time in two years, Mickelson nodded toward the clubhouse and said with a smile, “Yeah, I’m going to go up and have lunch with her.
“It’s fun having her out here,” he said. “We’re in such a much better place.
“You can tell she’s doing so much better, and we’re really, really happy about where we’re at.”
That goes for the entire family.
Elin Nordegren Approves of Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn, Gives Them Her Blessing
Closure is a precious commodity in past romances. No amount of money can buy it—something Tiger Woods knows all too well.
Time heals all things, however, and it would appear enough time has passed for Elin Nordegren, Woods’ Swedish ex-wife and former model, to feel comfortable saying she’s happy for her ex-husband and his relationship.
According to the New York Post, Nordegren has given her blessing to Woods and Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn.
Woods and Vonn began dating after meeting at a charity event in 2012, and according to the Post’s sources, his ex-wife approves. The reason? Vonn is reining Nordegren’s ex-husband in and bringing out the best in him.
Nordegren hasn’t gone on record with her approval, but sources say she “thinks [Vonn] is a very good influence on Tiger.” Reports also indicate Nordegren believes “[Woods] seems happy with [Vonn], and [Vonn] gets along well with their children.”
Woods and Nordegren’s marriage ended after the golfer’s history of extramarital affairs came to light in 2009. Their separation ended in an expensive divorce, with Nordegren reportedly receiving $100 million in a settlement, as noted by the Post.
Life after Tiger hasn’t been rough for Nordegren, who has spent her time building a new home in North Palm Beach next door to her new boyfriend, billionaire coal magnate Chris Cline.
Both have moved on, and Nordegren’s sentiments—while reportedly secondhand—are likely comforting to Woods, who is finally finding his swing again.
As the second day of British Open begins, Woods is two under par and chasing tournament leader Zach Johnson.
What better way to wrap up a week of closure than a return to major-winning form?
Why Jennifer Aniston-Brad Pitt Are Trending After The F.R.I.E.N.D.S Reunion
New Delhi: Brad Pitt might not have been present at the F.R.I.E.N.D.S Reunion but his name surely did pop up during the conversation. There’s no way, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston go unnoticed, especially with so much history around. Well, the actor was one of the guest stars in the 8th season of the sitcom, in which he starred as the Rachel Green (and carbohydrates)-averse Will Colbert in an episode. Enough about the past, back to 2021 – during the reunion, Jennifer’s co-star and love interest (read her lobster) on F.R.I.E.N.D.S, David Schwimmer, talking about all the famous guest appearances, said, “And your fella, Brad,” to which Jennifer Aniston replied, “Pitt came and did one.”
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History is proof that Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt always manage to make it to the trends list. Last year, Brad Pitt stopped everything and waited up backstage to watch Jennifer’s acceptance speech at the SAG Awards. Also, during the Golden Globes last year, Brad and Jennifer trended big time for the actress’ reaction to Brad Pitt’s acceptance speech after he won the Best Supporting actor award. During his speech, Brad said that he wanted to get his mother with him during the awards but he decided not to and said, “I wanted to bring my mom, but everyone I sit next to they say I’m dating.” Jennifer Aniston chuckled at his statement.
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston got married in 2000 and divorced in 2005. Brad Pitt later married Angelina Jolie in 2014 while Jennifer Aniston married Justin Theroux in 2015. Jennifer and Justin separated in 2017 after two years of marriage. Brad and Angelina, who have six children, separated in 2016.
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Texans’ Jonathan Owens ‘sick’ watching girlfriend Simone Biles struggle during Tokyo Olympics
Simone Biles’ boyfriend, Jonathan Owens, knows a thing or two about the pressure that comes with being an elite athlete. Owens is a safety for the Houston Texans, but he acknowledges he doesn’t understand the pressure Biles felt.
“It was hard for me to really understand what she was going through because I’m not on that stage and dealing with those pressures and everything, but I just try to be as understanding as possible,” Owens told reporters Thursday.
When Owens saw Biles walk off a rough first vault in the gymnastics team final on July 27 and immediately talk to her coach, he said he felt sick to his stomach.
“I was sick for her, just because I can see her face, I kind of know her facial expressions, I can kind of read her lips and kind of know what was going on and kind of what she was telling her coach,” Owens said. “I kind of knew what was going on beforehand so I was just really hoping she was going to get over it and be able to go out there and perform,” Owens continued. “So I was sick to my stomach because she wasn’t able to go out there.”
Houston Texans defensive back Jonathan Owens, pictured here during practice on Saturday, July 31, 2021, spoke out about watching girlfriend Simone Biles struggle during the Olympics.
Biles withdrew from the team finals and all event finals except for the balance beam, in which she earned a bronze medal. In the week following her early exit from the team final, Biles shared her struggle with experiencing the “twisties” and said that the pressure of expectations at the Olympics had impacted her mental health leading up to the Games.
“That was really hard. I trained my whole life, I was physically ready, I was fine. And then this happens,” Biles said about struggling with the “twisties.” “It was something that was so out of my control. But the outcome I had, at the end of the day, my mental and physical health is better than any medal.”
Simone Biles poses for photographs after winning the bronze medal on beam during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre.
Gymnasts and other athletes applauded Biles for putting her mental and physical health above the competition. John Lee, father of all-around gold medalist Suni Lee, thanked Biles for what she gave to his family.
“I want to tell Simone that she truly is the GOAT (greatest of all time),” John Lee said to NBC. “But she let my baby girl bring me a gold medal.”
Part of Biles’ legacy will also include how she stepped away from the sport on its biggest stage to preserve her mental and physical health. That’s something Owens, like most of the gymnastics world, is proud of.
“I was proud of her,” Owens said. “Just to be able to overcome what was going on. She kind of altered her beam routine, but I was just happy for her.”
Contact Alyssa Hertel at email@example.com or on Twitter @AlyssaHertel.
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