—JIM MACKAY, ON STENSON’S FINAL TEE SHOT, WHICH FINISHED 18 INCHES FROM THE SAND
A little white egg just short of the bunker.That made me quite happy.
The ball was about 18 inches short of the sand, but he had a perfect stance.
People standing around me were saying he got lucky. No he didn’t! He hit a fantastic shot that would have been unlucky to go in the bunker.The quality of the shots he hit – I never thought in my lifetime that I would watch someone hit the quality of shots that Tiger Woods could hit, with the amazing penetration and accuracy.The game has changed so much since I quit playing – probably because I quit playing.
Henrik’s second into 18 is not that hard of a shot, so he most likely will make par, but you still never know.
Phil hit a little carvey tee shot to the right, short of mine. I think he hit maybe a 7-iron to the green. So if I had hit a 2-iron I would have been even further back than he was.And because he mis-hit his tee shot, that reduced his chance of making birdie. He was so far back.
I wanted to hit a hook, and I wanted to hit one harder, and I took a little bit less club. It just wasn’t quite enough, and I left it 40 feet short.
Henrik had a perfect yardage for a wedge. I was like,“Go on, my son: Hit it on the left edge of that clubhouse, and job done.”
I hit the wedge shot as hard as I wanted to maybe 25 feet. It was perfect.
It isn’t quite done, though. If Phil holes for 3, Henrik still has to two-putt. And the putt had six feet of break in it.
But because the putt was a slinger with a potential tail on it, I wasn’t thinking I had won just yet. Chances were, in fact, had Phil holed for 3, I would have had a three-footer to win. So when he left his a foot short – right on line – I knew it was over.Then I can take it for granted. My putt almost went in sideways on the break (for a three-stroke victory). Lordy came over and gave me a little hug. Actually, it was quite a big hug, the biggest hug he’s ever given me. (Laughs.)
I was out on the 18th green the next morning, doing a piece for Sky Sports News. On camera, I holed the putt Henrik
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made to win the Open – on my 22nd attempt.The next time I saw Henrik I told him I needed 22 goes to make it and couldn’t believe how much the ball broke at the hole. His response was priceless:“Couldn’t you see that?”
Henrik is such an easy guy to root for, A, because he’s such a good guy, and B, because we all know what he’s been through, the peaks and valleys. It’s a tough game, and he’s fought back from a couple of whatevers (including swing yips and losing millions in a Ponzi scheme).You’re out there in this moment where this guy’s having the greatest professional moment of his life. It was fun to watch them hug it out.
Gareth is not a guy who is going to agree with Henrik just because he thinks he should.Two of the most complicated relationships that I’ve seen on the golf course in a long time: Bones and Phil, and Gareth and Henrik. CONGRATS FROM OAKMONT PROPHET
Phil said something like, “Really well played; really well done. I’m happy for you.” I think I said, “Well done to you, too, and remember the conversation we had?”
At Oakmont, I’d told him he had the game to win a major. I’d said,“I hope it’s not at my expense,” and a month later it was at my expense. It’s almost like when I said it, I kind of knew I had made a mistake.We laughed about it as we were walking to the scorer’s tent.
We were sitting there checking our cards.There was a screen behind us. Phil looked at it and turned to me and said,“Ten birdies? Really? F--- off!” But he did it with a big smile.
We’ve had a relationship that goes back well over a decade of bantering and smack-talking and playing pranks and so forth. He’s a funny guy with a very dry sense of humour.Very easy guy to like.
My wife calls Henrik my “third son.” She told me we both deserved it because we had put up with each other for so long. It’s funny what you think at times like that. My mind went to what people say after climbing Everest:“The journey is better than the arrival.” I was delighted, of course, and I was proud of him. But emotional? No. I don’t know what emotion is. Plus, to be fair, when you look at how Henrik putted, you have to give credit to Phil Kenyon, his putting coach.
Göran Zachrisson (of Swedish television) did an interview with me in the clubhouse. I invited him back to the IMG house. He’s been going to the Open for 50 years and has covered 200 majors, and he had never seen a Swede win. He was very
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