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Topic - Paul Azinger
Ernie Els hardly ever catches a break at the Match Play Championship.
Even as golf embarks on the final major of the year at the PGA Championship, still fresh in the mind is the closing round Phil Mickelson put together at Muirfield to win the British Open. He birdied four of the last six holes for a 6-under 66, the best round of the day in demanding conditions.
The list of best players to have never won a major seems to get longer every year. And it becomes more meaningful at the PGA Championship, the final chance of the year for these players to stop answering questions about when they will win a Grand Slam event.
A look at some of the anniversaries this year at the 95th PGA Championship, to be played Aug. 8-11 at Oak Hill in Pittsford, N.Y.:
On the day after a British Open that will be talked about for years, it was time for Muirfield to return to normal. Workers dismantled the green seats in all the grandstands. Trucks carried out supplies from the tented village. The blue name plates of players were removed from the lockers.
Bouncing back from a tough loss last weekend, Johnson seized the lead with a 6-under 66 on a sunny Thursday at Muirfield — another brilliant opening after a 65 at Lytham last year.
Not many people believed Adam Scott when he said he would take nothing but positives away from the British Open last year, despite blowing a four-shot lead with four holes remaining by closing with four straight bogeys at Royal Lytham & St. Annes and losing by one shot to Ernie Els.
From behind the 18th green, Paul Azinger stared out toward a golf course where he nearly won a major title, where so many greats of the game have carved their names on the claret jug.
Paul Azinger leaned against the railing around the 18th green at Muirfield, where 13 players have won the silver claret jug since the British Open first came to a links course known as the fairest of them all.
Of the 13 players to win the Open at this course east of Edinburgh, 11 are enshrined in the World Golf Hall of Game (and you can make a pretty strong case that another, Ted Ray, should be).
St. Andrews is incomparable because of its history, but when it comes to links courses in the British Open rotation, Muirfield is looked upon as the purest and fairest of them all. What gets even less of an argument is the roll call of champions at Muirfield.
A capsule look at the 15 previous British Opens held at Muirfield Golf Club, where the 142nd British Open will be played July 18-21:
The toughest question for any world-class golfer is to pick his favorite course in the world. It turned out to be easy for Nick Faldo once he set some parameters.
Tiger Woods still has a chance to win the Masters.
It's small consolation, but hardcore Tiger Woods fans who can't make it to the Masters for Thursday's opening round can at least take the morning off.
"He shot 65 to beat me," Azinger said. "I had a guy who had never won, and I thought if I shot par, that might have been good enough. It didn't even come close."
"If there is such a thing as golf gods, I think they heard the prayers of Adam Scott's fans," Paul Azinger said this week.