Henrik Stenson triumphed in the 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon.
Here are five things we learned from the event.
1. The Open really is Open
None of the world’s top five-ranked players were able to mount serious challenges at Troon but the event did not suffer for that. In the end it came down to a battle between Stenson and Phil Mickelson but there were eye-catching displays from JB Holmes, Steve Stricker and new crowd favourite Andrew Johnston, among others. As shown by the near-misses of Greg Norman and Tom Watson in the past decade, the Open remains a wide open tournament.
2. The next generation hasn’t taken over just yet
Youth may be advantageous in golf but, once again, when it comes to the Open experience can be every bit as important. At 40 and 46 respectively, winner Stenson and runner-up Mickelson can no longer claim to be youngsters, but their dominance of the event was not by chance. They remain at the top of their profession.
3. Phil Mickelson is far from done
Mickelson has not had much joy since his 2013 Open success but he showed his enduring class by narrowly missing out on a major record round of 62 on Thursday and then mounting a strong bid for the title. He now heads to the US PGA Championship at Baltusrol – scene of his first major win in 2005 – with a spring in his step and a chance of victory.
4. Beef looks good
After all the controversy about players’ reluctance to play in the Olympics in the build-up to the Open, and whether they should have a responsibility to help grow the game, a man known as ‘Beef’ gave the sport a shot in the arm. Cult figure Johnston emerged as one of golf’s most colourful new characters over the week and the game can only benefit.
5. The R&A is now well seasoned in weather watching
After the torrential rain that forced a two-tee start in 2014 and the loss of a day’s play last year, the R&A proved they are now dab hands at dealing with adverse weather. Again the elements conspired against them and made for some difficult playing conditions, but the tournament organisers set the course up well and made it as fair as possible. Not cutting the greens on Saturday proved an excellent decision.