Els Mickelson Bridesmaids Again

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I am thinking about Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson as the fallout continues to rain down from Todd Hamiltons brave victory over Els in a playoff at the 133rd Open Championship Sunday at Royal Troon.
 
I am thinking about how comparisons of Els second place finishes in major championships to those of Greg Norman are unfair on two counts. Els never ceded one to anybody the way Norman did to Nick Faldo in the final round of the 1996 Masters.
 
And Els never had one snatched away from him the way Norman did at the 1986 Masters by Larry Mize. Yes, Mickelson made that winning putt on the 72 hole of this years Masters to beat Els by a shot. But nobody was terribly surprised that the ball found the bottom of the hole.
 
Els has now finished one shot short in two of this years three majors. In the other one, the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, Els played in the final group Sunday but shot 80.
 
Els will be back. Hearing or reading that will be of little consolation for him right now. But Els has too much game not to remain a consistent major championship story line. One of the dreamiest scenarios would have had him making his 10-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole at Troon to birdie the final three holes and win by one.
 
We move on to next months PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. Mickelson will arrive there having finished first, second and third in this years majors, respectively.
 
On Friday and Saturday at Royal Troon Mickelson missed a total of 14 greens. He got up and down to save par on all 14 occasions.
 
It was one of the more remarkable stats in a week full of them. I have watched the relationship between Mickelson and short game guru Dave Pelz blossom in the last couple of years.
 
Both share the common passion of examining things down to the most minute detail. Mickelsons father was a pilot, Pelz used to be an engineer.
 
Mickelson and Pelz are perfect for each other. And their modus operandi for getting Mickelsons short game ready for major championships these days is something you will likely see other players adapting in the near future.
 
Mickelson, by the way, is now No. 1 on the money list and the runaway favorite to capture Player of the Year honors.
 
He is also your early favorite for the PGA Championship.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
Related Links:
  • British Open Photo Gallery

  • Full Coverage - 133rd Open Championship