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PGA Tour Confidential: Phil Mickelson wins the British Open

Adam Scott
Thomas Lovelock / Sports Illustrated
Adam Scott was in contention at Muirfield before making bogeys on four straight holes on the back nine.

5. Adam Scott was in pole position Sunday until he had a 2012 Royal Lytham flashback and made bogey on four consecutive holes again. Why did the wheels come off for Scott?

Passov: He said it himself: "Every error (at Muirfield) is magnified by the severity of the course." He hit a few crap shots when he needed good ones, and missed a few makeable par-savers -- but didn't everybody except Phil do the same thing?

Morfit: He looked unsteady with the putter -- I knew it the moment he left his roughly 12-foot eagle putt short on nine. Steve Williams looked disgusted.

Ritter: Putting. It's always his putting. Watching him hit tee shots and irons live, you wonder how he doesn't win five times a year. The putt that clearly hurt him was on the par-3 13th. He hit his tee shot into the fescue right of the green and pulled off -- or got away with -- an unbelievable chip off a sidehill lie that barely cleared a pot bunker and settled to six feet. Then he just flat-out pushed the par putt. He bogeyed his next three holes after that.

Godich: It was the tee shot at the par-3 13th. He had the lead and was the best ball-striker out there. To hit that shot at that moment?

Lynch: Pick among the following: Sunday in a major, tough course, difficult scoring conditions, poor play, lack of nerve, bad course management. He looked very solid early in back nine before getting wobbly, but this doesn't rank with his collapse at Lytham (Phil won today, last year Ernie had it handed to him). I'm just sad he denied Steve Williams a chance to win his 15th major title and pass Tiger.

Reiterman: Putting, putting and putting.

Van Sickle: Adam didn't get it done on the greens. That's not a new issue for him. He'll be back.

Bamberger: I don't think the wheels came off. He just was off enough to make bogeys. Links golf in the wind and cooling air. It's not like you're playing on PlayStation.

6. We saw some unusual names atop the leaderboard. Who intrigues you the most, M.A. Jimenez, Rafeal Cabrera-Bello, or Hideki Hatsuyama? Someone else?

Bamberger: Hideki, because I knew nothing about him. He looks like a fabulous player.

Passov: M.A. Jimenez is not only the most intriguing name on the leaderboard, coming off a broken leg at age 49, but he is also the most interesting man in the world, or at least in golf. That said, I'm most intrigued by Matsuyama. To come back with a 70 after that devastating one-shot penalty is impressive, as was his Top 10 at the U.S. Open. He's leaving way overrated Ryo Ishikawa in his rear-view mirror.

Lynch: It's not so much a question of individuals but the collective sum: the diversity of the leaderboard was a terrific tribute to the nature of links golf. There were bombers like Mickelson and Scott, bunters like Zach Johnson and Francesco Molinari, guys who live on their putters (Poulter), and guys who can't sniff a leaderboard off a links course (Darren Clarke). We don't see that much anymore.

Morfit: I like Hideki. The kid has a lot of game and hung around despite his slow-play penalty. I think he'll be around a while. He's young.

Reiterman: Matsuyama was impressive, especially after that slow-play penalty on Saturday he comes back on Sunday and ties for sixth.

Godich: How can you not pull for Jimenez? He's truly one of the good guys in golf.

Van Sickle: I find it intriguing how Lee Westwood can keep getting himself into contention and not finding a way to finish it off on Sunday. You think he'd win one of these by accidentally putting up a low round, like Mickelson did, at the end. But it hasn't happened.

Ritter: Can I take Henrik Stenson? Just feel like he's in the midst of a career rebirth.

7. The PGA Championship starts in less than three weeks. Who is your early favorite at the year's final major?

Lynch: Not Tiger.

Passov: How can it not be Phil?

Morfit: Phil.

Van Sickle: Oak Hill is a big, sprawling brute of a course. Phil fits the bill as the early favorite. Especially given that most of this year's other winners haven't sustained their levels of play.

Godich: Hunter Mahan has knocked on the door at the last two majors. He'll excel on a layout that puts on a premium on getting the ball in the fairway off the tee -- with a driver.

Reiterman: Tiger will always be the favorite.

Bamberger: Shaun Micheel. Shaun Micheel or Ben Curtis.

Ritter: It's the Summer of Phil. Why pick against him now?

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