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Golf

5 Takeaways From the 2013 British Open

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5 Thoughts on the 2013 Open Championship

5 Thoughts on the 2013 Open Championship
Paul Cunningham-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 British Open from Muirfield was a memorable event. Depending on who you root for memories will vary, but first and foremost, people are going to remember Phil Mickelson and what he did in the final round. Mickelson was able to keep close all weekend long until he found his groove on Sunday and stole the show. We'll talk more about Lefty in a moment...

After that people will remember Lee Westwood and his failures in the final round. With a two-stroke lead, it seemed that he might finally win his first major, however it wasn't in the cards. Westwood couldn't hit a fairway to save his life and you just can't expect to hold off a charging player like Mickelson if you're constantly hitting from the rough.

But I think we all can agree that the 2013 edition of the Open will be remembered for the condition of the course. Muirfield was burnt to a crisp from drought like conditions and it really took a toll on the player's scorecards. When it was all said and done, there was only one golfer under par. That fact speaks volumes about what the players had to deal with at this year's Open. However, fans shouldn't expect anything else with golf's oldest major.

Sure, the 2013 edition wasn't the best of all time, but it was certainly memorable. Despite only one player finishing below par, there was lots of entertaining golf and the feel of a major championship to go along with it. Keeping all of that in mind, here are five takeaways from the 2013 British Open:

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The Open is Different, But That's What Makes It Great

Leo-Mason-USA-TODAY-Sports
Leo-Mason-USA-TODAY-Sports

I'm sure there's a decent percentage of golf fans that really don't care for the Open. For starters, the extremely early tee times make it difficult to get up and watch. On top of that, links golf is an entirely different beast and the high degree of difficulty probably doesn't appeal to casual fans. But even though the Open is on at crazy hours and it's usually tough on scorecards, I believe that's what makes it great. Whether it's gusting winds, a fast course or both, it's just reality for the players when they step on the links at the Open. You've got to be close to your A-game all weekend to win golf's oldest major, but that's why it has its legendary status.

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Jordan Spieth Could Be the Next Big Thing

Paul-Cunningham-USA-TODAY-Sports
Paul-Cunningham-USA-TODAY-Sports

Although the 19-year old fell off as the weekend moved on, he was still able to post a first round 69 and hang around for the majority of the tournament. At least for a couple days, he hung with the world's best before the links of Muirfield got the best of him. But with six top-10 finishes in 17 events in 2013, Spieth is most certainly a candidate to be the next big thing in US golf. He's already ranked 17th on the PGA tour's money list and his future looks nothing but bright. With many aging US stars, the sport could really use a young phenom.

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Zach Johnson's Putter is Holding Him Back

Paul-Cunningham-USA-TODAY-Sports
Paul-Cunningham-USA-TODAY-Sports

After coming out of the gate strong with a first round 66, Johnson lost all his momentum with a 75 on day two. He continued to play well the rest of the weekend, but putting clearly held him back. Part of that was due to fast greens and difficult pin placements, but Johnson just flat out missed too many birdies. He hit a patch in the middle of the tournament where he went 36 straight holes without one. If Johnson ever hopes to reach the next tier of golfers, he has to be more consistent with his putter. It cost him a tour victory at the John Deere classic and now it's cost him his second major championship.

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Tiger Woods Might Not Be the Tiger of Old Ever Again

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Paul-Cunningham-USA-TODAY-Sports

It really seemed like this was going to be the tournament where Tiger would finally break through and win another major. Just two strokes down going into the final round, it felt like there was a good chance he'd pass Westwood on his way to a fourth Claret Jug - but Tiger couldn't get it together. 'Sunday Tiger' did not show up at Muirfield, and it's fair to wonder if Woods can ever get back to where he was. It's seeming more and more unlikely that he will with each passing tournament, even though he's the world's No. 1 player. We all know that he's almost automatic when leading going into the final day of a major, but in the second part of his career, he hasn't been able to make it back to that spot.

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Phil Mickelson Cements His Place in Golf History

Paul-Cunningham-USA-TODAY-Sports
Paul-Cunningham-USA-TODAY-Sports

Not that Mickelson wasn't already an elite golfer, but after his remarkable final round performance at the 2013 Open, his legacy has been taken to a whole new level. Lefty himself admitted that he didn't know if he could ever win the British, just because of his style of play. There weren't many that thought he had a chance to win this year, but he never went away. He hung in there through some rough patches and finally found his groove at the exact right time. His putt on 18 will go down in Open history and it will be one of those moments played back for years to come.

Mickelson not only secured his first Claret Jug with that putt, but he also secured his place in golf history. He now has 42 PGA tour wins (9th all-time) and five majors under his belt. He joined elite company with his Open Championship victory, becoming the 11th player to win three different majors. Now he just needs that elusive US Open championship to join golf's grand slam club with only five other members.