Wayward McIlroy rues missed chances at British Open

Wayward McIlroy rues missed chances at British Open

Only it's not always that simple. Instead he'll be celebrated for one of the most clutch performances ever.

Jordan Spieth is the British Open champion, just like expected, though not like anyone could have imagined.

Only legends of the game - Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Gene Sarazen - have won all four legs of the Slam.

"It's a life goal of mine".

His hope is that it doesn't take a lifetime, and he only has to consider Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson.

Seve Ballesteros won the 1979 British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes by making birdie from the parking lot.

More than winning at Royal Birkdale was the manner in which Spieth did it.

Spieth, who ultimately beat Kuchar by three after both men completed final rounds of 69, was fully aware of the scrutiny he would have faced had he failed to capitalise on another commanding position in a major.

At that moment he was three-over after four holes on Sunday, and it couldn't have been better-timed.

"We've been in situations enough where I know, and he knew, that we just had to slow it down, find a way to get this back in play and find a way to grind out a bogey". Watson led wire-to-wire at Oakmont in 1978 until closing with a 73 and losing in a playoff to John Mahaffey, who started the last day seven shots behind.

Spieth's celebrations will probably continue until at least Thursday, when he celebrates his 24th birthday.

The weird sequence played out in slow motion as Spieth took more than 20 minutes before hitting his shot. The drama was similar to Woods running off three straight birdies at Valhalla when he won his third straight major in a playoff at the 2000 PGA Championship. That's what we talked about in '15 when we won the Masters.

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Spieth already has one runner-up in the PGA Championship, two years ago at Whistling Straits, when he started two shots behind Jason Day and couldn't catch up.

Spieth and Nicklaus are the only players to capture the third leg of the Grand Slam at age 23.

Phil Mickelson won his third at the British Open in 2013 at Muirfield, leaving him only the U.S. Open. In three chances since, Mickelson has finished 15 and 18 shots out of the lead and missed the cut a year ago.

Rory McIlroy, closed a great weekend with an eagle on 17th and a round of 67 to finish at five-under 275 and in a tie for fourth with Rafa Cabrera-Bello (68). He has had three top 10s in the Masters, the major he lacks for the Grand Slam, though he has never seriously contended.

At the close of play on Sunday, Spieth topped the leaderboard at Royal Birkdale and, when all is said and done, it feels as if he now sits proudly perched at the game's summit, too.

How will Spieth respond at Quail Hollow in North Carolina when the PGA Championship starts on August 10?

Kuchar made birdie himself, but the one-shot lead he held two holes earlier had been reversed.

Looking absolutely lost in between his ears, Spieth bounced back with a birdie on No. 14, narrowly missing an ace, to tie Kuchar before draining an incredibly-difficult, 48-foot putt for an eagle on No. 15 to regain a one-stroke league.

There was more good news for him tomorrow when the new world rankings saw him rise a place to number two behind Dustin Johnson on the back of his latest triumph.

THE ROOKIE: Xander Schauffele's fortunes sure have changed in the last month.

"We have a 20- or 30-year window of where we can".

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