10 things we thought would happen before a Mickelson British Open win
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10 things we thought would happen before a Mickelson British Open win

Not even John Edward could fake prognosticating that Phil Mickelson would win the 2013 Open Championship.

"I'm sensing a name. Does it begin with an 'L'? A 'T'? How about an 'H'?"

But, that's why golf is so beautiful: it can produce some of the most beautiful, surprising results when they're least expected. Even with Mickelson's Scottish Open win a Sunday ago, marking his first career European Tour triumph, the Hall-of-Famer's spotty Open Championship record made crowning him the favorite a risky proposition.

Now that Mickelson has the Claret Jug in his possession, we here at Golf News Net wanted to share with you 10 things we thought would happen before Phil did what he did at Muirfield.

10. Sergio Garcia would win a major championship

Sergio Garcia has knocked on the door at majors so many times by now that the percentages simply suggested El Pollo Frito would win at least one major before Mickelson won the Open Championship. Hell, if Sergio was going to win any major championship, it was going to be the Open Championship, where his ball flight and imagination serve him well. Welp.

9. Someone would shoot 58 on the PGA Tour

There have been five 59s in PGA Tour history. Two of them have been shot since 2010. Mickelson nearly had his own 59 en route to a win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in early February. Just a week ago on the Web,com Tour, Chad Collins was 11 under through 12 holes and threatening even lower than 58.

8. The USGA and R&A would roll back the golf ball

Instead of going after the anchored stroke (which was the right move) first, it seemed more likely the game's governing bodies would roll back golf-ball distance before Phil Mickelson had a chance to win the Open Championship. Then again, a lot of people wonder if that's ever going to happen.

7.  The Web.com Tour would have at least one more name

The Web.com Tour has gone by a lot of names over the years: the Ben Hogan Tour, the Nike Tour, the Buy.com Tour and the Nationwide Tour. Seeing as though we thought there was no chance of Mickelson winning the Open, it seemed more likely the Web.com Tour would need a name change and a new sponsor first.

6. Golf returns to and exits from the Olympic Games

Golf comes back to the Olympics in 2016 and is guaranteed to be a part of the program in 2020 as well. After the Rio Games, however, golf's future will be put to a vote. Given the boring 72-hole stroke-play format, there's a chance that the tournament may not be compelling enough to keep it around beyond a pair of Summer Games.

5. Someone made the second par-4 ace in PGA Tour history

Andrew Magee is the only player in PGA Tour history to make an ace on a par 4, doing so in Phoenix in 2001. With the resurgence of drivable par 4s and the distance the golf ball flies, it seemed a par-4 albatross would happen ahead of a Mickelson Open triumph. Hell, Charl Schwartzel almost did it on Saturday at the Open.

4. The Players Championship becomes the fifth major

All the tours are doing it now: introducing a fifth major championship. The Champions Tour has five and, as of 2013, so, too, does the LPGA Tour. Eventually, The Players will become a major. We might all be dead, but it will be. The game evolves and changes, and The Players is important enough of a tournament to enter the major echelon.

3. An amateur wins on the PGA Tour

So an amateur hasn't won on the PGA Tour in 22 years. Hey, wait! The last amateur to win on the PGA Tour was Phil Mickelson in 1991!

Several players have challenged ending that drought in recent years. Patrick Cantlay shot a record second-round 60 in the Travelers Championship in 2011. Just a week ago, amateur Patrick Rodgers posted a top-15 finish at the John Deere Classic. Then again, with the move to taking away PGA Tour cards from Q-school and moving them to the Web.com Tour Finals, it's more likely amateurs that could win on the PGA Tour will turn pro rather than waste time in the unpaid set.

2. A woman competes in the Masters

The Masters is an invitation-only tournament, but a player of either gender could conceivably earn an invitation if they met one of the criteria. Maybe a woman would come along and with the U.S. or British Amateur. Who knows. We could even hedge our bet here by saying 2a on the list would be that the LPGA Tour has an event -- a sixth major? -- at Augusta National.

1. Tiger Woods would pass Jack Nicklaus with 19 majors

Even amid a five-year majors drought, it still seemed more likely that Tiger Woods would get his act together five times in the majors before Phil would ever win the Open Championship. Mickelson could have won a half-dozen U.S. Opens while Tiger was reaching 19, but there was no way Phil would win the Claret Jug -- or so we thought.

Honorable Mentions: A player from China wins a major championship, a pro golfer poses nude in Playboy/Playgirl, someone older than 48 wins a major championship, Donald Trump buys the PGA Tour

About the author


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

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