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PGA Tour Confidential: Phil Mickelson wins the British Open

Tiger Woods
Thomas Lovelock / Sports Illustrated
Tiger Woods shot a final-round 74 and finished tied for sixth.

3. Muirfield: A great course and setup to produce this leaderboard and champion, or too firm, fast and fiery, where too much defensive play resulted?

Bamberger: Oh, completely great. If you don't like Muirfield you have absolutely a weird sense of golf. Playing it might be a different matter -- I'd rather play up the street at North Berwick -- but for a good player it's absolutely one of the best. And the setting is profoundly lovely, civilized and timeless.

Passov: I love "firm and fast," but not skating-rink firm and fast. For only one player to break par in an event where weather was not much of a factor strikes me as an over-the-top setup. I don't understand why so many out there think that even par should be so heralded in a major. It's not like I've been sitting back watching Opens on TV for the past 40 years thinking, "Boy, this would be so much better if the course were tougher." When Seve edged Watson in '84 at St. Andrews, he finished 12-under. Did that somehow detract from his accomplishment? When Norman conquered Royal St. George's in '93, at 267, 13-under, Faldo, Langer, Pavin, Els, Price and Couples -- all World Top Tenners -- finished 10th or better. It was awesome stuff. Ernie finished 6-under in '02 and 7-under last year and both were riveting. Let the boys play a little bit --and if the weather conspires to drive up scores, fine. It shouldn't come from the course setup.

Godich: I had no problem with the setup. The Sunday leaderboard was testament to what a strong and fair test Muirfield was.

Van Sickle: It looked to me like the British Open got hijacked and somebody substituted a U.S. Open, where birdies were almost only by accident. This is the year the Opens went back to Merion and Muirfield, throwback courses, and officials were going to make darned sure they didn't yield low scores. They succeeded.

Lynch: There's no such thing as too firm or fast on a links course. The complaints were over tucked hole locations, which have long been the R&A's method of protecting par on burned-out courses (see Hoylake '06). Links golf demands imagination and patience in equal measure, so it's no surprise that Mickelson emerged on top. Muirfield is a terrific course, arguably the best on the Open rota. It's just a shame the members' attitudes haven't evolved much since the club was founded in 1744.

Reiterman: After a few questionable hole locations on Thursday, I thought Muirfield was great. There were all the quirky bounces and tough lies you'd expect from links golf, and Mickelson's great shots were rewarded coming down the stretch on Sunday. What's not to like?

Ritter: The leaderboard speaks for itself. Sunday held tons of interesting possibilities and it produced a great champion. I'd take that every year.

Morfit: I liked it. The area is incredibly dry -- Please replace your dust, I mean divots! -- and I think the R&A did a good job with what they had. There were maybe a few hiccups on Thursday, but to their credit the R&A officials seemed to listen to Phil and Poulter's rants and reacted accordingly.

4. Tiger Woods got himself into contention but just never looked right Sunday, letting another major slip away. How many more will he win in his career, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 or more? Have you ever seen Tiger more frustrated while in contention?

Lynch: What was once the most dependable thing in sports -- Tiger's dominance on Sunday in a major -- has now become a depressingly distant memory. It's hard to win majors if you don't trust your swing when it matters most, and today he produced considerably more F-bombs than birdies. His greatest weapon was always his self-belief but that's gone. I still say he gets to 16 majors (he's going to back into at least one more) but his chances of beating Jack's record are gone, I say. Think about it: he now needs Phil's career wins in the majors from this point on. It ain't happening.

Morfit: I'm going to go with Greg Norman's assessment a few years ago -- I don't think Tiger's going to win any more majors. And that pains me to say, but I just don't like the way he looks in the majors anymore.

Reiterman: I'm sticking with Tiger beating Jack's record, but he's got to stop letting these great opportunities slip away. More troublesome was Woods was never part of this tournament on Sunday. He bogeyed the first hole and never recovered. It's not shocking that he didn't win today, it was shocking that he was never a factor.

Ritter: Ever since the hydrant, I've said Tiger will win two more majors, and I'm staying with it. He's back to No. 1. He's won four times this year. Sooner or later, I think it'll come together for him at one of the big ones. But passing Jack? I don't see it.

Passov: He'll win two more. He not only doesn't make putts like he used to, he doesn't intimidate like he used to. Yet, he's in the hunt, on Day 2, Day 3 and often Day 4, almost every major. That counts for something (see McIlroy, Rory, Donald, Luke, and a zillion others.) Personally, I think he's been this frustrated every time he's been in the hunt the last four years.

Godich: Tiger will win a couple of more majors, but he isn't catching Jack. Every shot is such a grind. You can see how it wears on him. And I've said it before: He's an old 37.

Van Sickle: After one of Tiger's U.S. Amateur wins, Earl Woods predicted that his son was going to win 14 majors someday. Maybe dad was right on the money.

Bamberger: I do not know how many more majors Tiger will win. If I did I would use my powers for more constructive things.

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