TROON, Scotland – Phil Mickelson shot a bogey-free final-round 65 Sunday at The Open and bested the field by 11 shots. Well, he bested everyone except Henrik Stenson, who won by three Sunday to claim his first major championship and deny Mickelson his sixth.
Mickelson is no stranger to disappointment in major championships. Sunday marked his 11th career runner-up finish. Only Jack Nicklaus (19) has more. Of course, Nicklaus also had 18 major wins.
“It’s disappointing to come in second, but I’m happy for Henrik,” Mickelson said. “He’s really a great champion. We’ve been friends for some time. I’ve always thought that he is one of the best ball-strikers in the game and that major championships are perfectly suited for him.
“I knew that he would ultimately come through and win. I’m happy that he did. I'm disappointed that it was at my expense.”
Here’s a closer look at all 11 of Mickelson’s second-place finishes:
1999 U.S. Open: Payne Stewart drained a 15-footer for par on the final hole at Pinehurst to edge Mickelson by a shot. It was the first of six runner-up finishes in the U.S. Open.
2001 PGA Championship: Mickelson was paired with David Toms at Atlanta Athletic Club and the two went back and forth for most of the day. Ultimately, Toms won by a shot even though Mickelson shot 68 in the final round.
2002 U.S. Open: This was at Bethpage Black, and even though Mickelson shot a final-round 70, he still finished second by three shots to Tiger Woods.
2004 U.S. Open: Retief Goosen putting on one of the all-time putting performances to win by two shots at Shinnecock Hills. In the face of Goosen's brilliance, Mickelson hung tough until the end. He made birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 before a double bogey on the 17th hole derailed his hopes.
2006 U.S. Open: Winged Foot. This should almost be in a category by itself. Mickelson needed par on the final hole to win but he made double bogey when he blew his drive way left. You're far more ikely to remember that week for the guy who lost than the one who won. Hey, Geoff Ogilvy!
2009 U.S. Open: Mickelson finished two shots behind Lucas Glover, once again at Bethpage Black. He was tied for the lead after 13, but three-putted for bogey on 15 and made another bogey on the 17th hole.
2011 Open: Darren Clarke won at Royal St. George’s by three shots. It wasn’t particularly close for Mickelson, but it proved to him that he could contend more regularly in links golf.
2013 U.S. Open: Yet another crushing U.S. Open, this one at Merion. This one came at the hands of Justin Rose, by two shots. Mickelson had the trophy squarely within reach but made bogey on three of the last six holes.
2014 PGA Championship: At Valhalla, Mickelson was three shots behind Rory McIlroy at the start of the day and shot a final-round 66. He played beautifully down the stretch but McIlroy was too tough and won by a shot.
2015 Masters: This one didn’t hurt at all because Jordan Spieth was in control the whole way. Mickelson finished second by four shots but never had a real chance to win a fourth green jacket.
2016 Open: Shoots final-round 65, but finishes second by three shots to Henrik Stenson, who fired a final-round 63. Mickelson was 11 shots ahead of third-place J.B. Holmes.