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This time, he was right on the mark.
He drilled a hybrid down the middle, then ripped a 6-iron perilously close to the edge of the left bunker, the ball kicking right just as he intended. It rolled to a stop 10 feet behind the flag, and he rolled in the last of his birdies even though he didn’t need it.
Mickelson thrust his arms in the air and let out a yell. His caddie, Jim "Bones" Mackay, began sobbing. Just off the green, his wife Amy and their three children waited to dole out some hugs.
"He works real hard and he wants it," Mackay said, explaining why the tears came so easily. "He really, really wants it."
Mickelson is 43 years old now, closer to the end of his career than the beginning, but he still has a passion for the game and a desire to tie up some of the loose ends. This was one of them, something to add to his three Masters wins and a PGA Championship. Only 13 golfers have won more major titles; only five of those have won all four legs of the Grand Slam.
The last one eluding Mickelson is the U.S. Open, a championship where he’s been the runner-up six times — most recently last month at Merion.
"He’s resilient," Mackay said. "He looks forward."
Most certainly, Mickelson hasn’t given up on adding that other Open to his resume. No matter what, he’ll go down as one of golf’s greatest players.
"The guy’s done a lot," his caddie said. "He’s done a lot of really cool things on the big stage."
Mickelson began the final round at Muirfield with a lot of ground to make up. He trailed Westwood by five shots, the 40-year-old Englishman never in a better position to pick up his first major. Woods was two shots behind, eager to end the longest major drought of his career. Masters champion Scott was also in the mix, as well as Hunter Mahan.
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