Jack Nicklaus: 2016 British Open ‘Even Better’ Than His ‘Duel in the Sun’ with Tom Watson

AP Photo
The Associated Press

Jack Nicklaus opines that Sunday’s Henrik Stenson-Phil Mickelson battle at the British Open outdoes his famous “Duel in the Sun” with Tom Watson.

“I was fortunate to watch every second of today’s final round of the Open Championship,” Nicklaus explained on social media, “and I thought it was fantastic. Phil Mickelson played one of the best rounds I have ever seen played in the Open and Henrik Stenson just played better—he played one of the greatest rounds I have ever seen.”

Mickelson shot a 65 on Sunday. But the Swede beat him by three strokes by registering a 63 on the day.

“Phil certainly has nothing to be ashamed of because he played wonderfully,” the three-time Open champion noted. “Henrik played well from beginning to end. He drove the ball well; his iron game was great; his short game was wonderful; and his putting was great. Henrik was simply terrific. To win your first major championship is something special in and of itself, but to do it in the fashion Henrik did it in, makes for something very special and incredibly memorable.”

At the 1977 British Open, Tom Watson edged Nicklaus by one stroke on the final day of competition to win his second Open. Watson finished the tournament twelve better than par. Nicklaus’s scorecard read eleven under. The pair submitted identical scorecards their first three days at Turnberry. Just one stroke separated them on Sunday and for the tournament.

“Some in the media have already tried to compare today’s final round to 1977 at Turnberry,” Nicklaus writes on Facebook, “with Tom Watson and me in what they called the ‘duel in the sun.’ I thought we played great and had a wonderful match. On that day, Tom got me, 65-66. Our final round was really good, but theirs was even better.”