Sunday, July 17, 2016

regarding Henrik

Among the ludicrous number of records set by the thrilling last round of the Open Championship at Royal Troon today, and Henrik Stenson's victory - lowest aggregate score (264) in major championship history, equal-lowest score in relation to par in major championship history, first Swedish player to win a men's major - the ones that resonate most closely with the particular obsessions of this blog are the two rounds of 63 that bookended the tournament. Not only were they made by the two men (Mickelson and Stenson) who contended for the title, but they illustrated perfectly the two ways in which 63s can be made. Stenson's was the textbook grandstand finish, winnng in style with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th to become only the second man after Johnny Miller in 1973 (the very first 63 of all) to shoot 63 in the last round of a major to win. Mickelson, on the other hand, had a putt for a 62 which looked to be in all the way until it lipped out at the last moment, something that Johnny Miller, Nick Price and Tiger Woods (and possibly others) can sympathise with.

Stenson's round therefore becomes the seventh of the 29 to deliver a win, while, inevitably, Mickelson's becomes the 22nd that didn't - he becomes the sixth player to shoot one and finish runner-up. This year's Open also becomes the fourth major championship to include two separate rounds of 63, after the 1980 US Open, the 1993 Open and the 1995 USPGA.

Johnny MillerUS Open1973finalWONJohnny Miller
Bruce CramptonUSPGA1975second2ndJack Nicklaus
Mark HayesOpen1977secondtied 9thTom Watson
Jack NicklausUS Open1980firstWONJack Nicklaus
Tom WeiskopfUS Open1980first37thJack Nicklaus
Isao AokiOpen1980thirdtied 12thTom Watson
Raymond FloydUSPGA1982firstWONRaymond Floyd
Gary PlayerUSPGA1984secondtied 2ndLee Trevino
Nick PriceMasters1986third5thJack Nicklaus
Greg NormanOpen1986secondWONGreg Norman
Paul BroadhurstOpen1990thirdtied 12thNick Faldo
Jodie MuddOpen1991finaltied 5thIan Baker-Finch
Nick FaldoOpen1993second2ndGreg Norman
Payne StewartOpen1993final12thGreg Norman
Vijay SinghUSPGA1993second4thPaul Azinger
Michael BradleyUSPGA1995firsttied 54thSteve Elkington
Brad FaxonUSPGA1995final5thSteve Elkington
Greg NormanMasters1996first2ndNick Faldo
Jose Maria OlazabalUSPGA2000thirdtied 4thTiger Woods
Mark O’MearaUSPGA2001secondtied 22ndDavid Toms
Vijay SinghUS Open2003secondtied 20thJim Furyk
Thomas BjornUSPGA2005thirdtied 2ndPhil Mickelson
Tiger WoodsUSPGA2007secondWONTiger Woods
Rory McIlroyOpen2010firsttied 3rdLouis Oosthuizen
Steve Stricker USPGA2011firsttied 12thKeegan Bradley
Jason Dufner USPGA2013secondWONJason Dufner
Hiroshi Iwata USPGA2015secondtied 21stJason Day
Phil MickelsonOpen2016first2ndHenrik Stenson
Henrik StensonOpen2016finalWONHenrik Stenson

No mention of this year's Open will ever be complete without comparing the Mickelson/Stenson duel to the Watson/Nicklaus Duel In The Sun at Turnberry in 1977. I agonised about whether I should list that as the first Open I remember seeing when I was constructing this list, as I have a definite memory of seeing it, and the climactic bit on the 18th green (and Tom Watson's spectacular 1970s check slacks) in particular, as a small boy, but I couldn't say with absolute certainty that it was live, or reasonably near-live. I'm pretty sure it was, and it's not conclusively ruled out by our having been out of the country (as we were for the 1975, 1976 and 1979 Opens), but I decided I couldn't be sure enough to include it, so I went for 1981, which I was sure about, instead. Possible nicknames for this and future head-to-head duels at Open Championships are below, and can be tailored to the prevailing weather conditions as appropriate:
  • the Battle In The Breeze
  • the Fracas In The Fog
  • the Melee In The Mist
  • the Scrap In The Squall
  • the Disagreement In The Drizzle
  • the War In The Warmth


The black rabbit said...

Does your table need editing?
Mickelson didn't finish "tied 2nd" yesterday?

electrichalibut said...

Quite right; cut & paste error. Fixed now. Incidentally "High Noon at Troon" seems to be the phrase of choice, on the BBC website anyway. Not convinced that's going to catch on in quite the same way as The Duel In The Sun.