Phil Mickelson would have won almost every major since 1983 with Open score
Phil Mickelson's 17-under 267 at Royal Troon was better than you think
There have been 135 major championships played since the 1983 season (when PGA Tour stats started being kept more closely), and Phil Mickelson would have won 132 of them with his strokes gained total last week at The Open Championship.
First, a refresher. What is strokes gained? It's a stat that measures how many strokes you were better than the field in a given event. At Royal Troon, there were 471 rounds played by 156 players when you take in withdrawals and players who missed the cut. The field average for a single round was 73.2. When you extrapolate that to a four-round tournament, it checks in at 292.6. Mickelson shot a 267 on the week, which means he was an outrageous 25.6 shots better than the field.
Here's Mark Broadie on where that ranks in terms of best performances at a major since 1983 and how much better Henrik Stenson's was.
That is just a ridiculous list. Mickelson, in terms of performance against the field, would have won every major except for the 1997 Masters, 2000 U.S. Open and 2016 Open Championship with his performance at Royal Troon. He knew it, too.
"I'm proud of the way I played," said Mickelson. "I don't look back on anything and say, 'I should have done this differently or that.' I played what I feel was well enough to win this championship by a number of strokes, and yet, I got beat by three strokes. You know, it's not like I have decades left of opportunities to win majors, so each one means a lot to me. And I put in my best performance today. Played close to flawless golf and was beat."
Not only that, but according to Broadie, it was by far the best duel in a major since 1983. Look at the combined strokes gained by the top two in a major championship.
A combined 54.2 strokes gained against the field is a complete joke. In case you didn't already think this was one of the great two-man performances in the history of the sport, I hope this convinces you otherwise. What we saw last week was truly special.
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