Mickelson deserves our thanks

Thanks, Phil Mickelson.

America needed that.

We needed a win on a major international sports stage.

They seem to be coming much less frequently these days.

Unless one of the Williams sisters wins a tennis tournament, we have no one else even capable of doing so.

Gone also are the days when Americans such as Greg LeMond or Lance Armstrong would dominate the Tour de France.

Heck, we can’t even win the World Baseball Classic despite having hundreds of multi-millionaire professional players from which to choose.

What’s happened? Most sports -golf included -have become international games.

America is still the world’s economic superpower, but other countries are catching up and as they do so, sports becomes more a part of their culture. The competition has gotten stiffer.

Look at those who still had a chance to win the British Open down the stretch: Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Zach Johnson from the United States; England’s Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood; Sweden’s Henrik Stenson; Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama; and Australia’s Adam Scott.

It was great to see Mickelson raise the Claret Jug. He is a competitor, a warrior who fights to the last drop.

Yes, he occasionally makes a few bone-headed decisions but that’s because he has enough confidence in himself to pull off a shot others wouldn’t even dare attempt.

Plus, he conducts himself with class.

He’s a devout family man as evidenced by his cross country trip to watch his daughter graduate the fifth grade the night before teeing off in a major tournament.

Although I always have rooted for Tiger Woods, I have to admit that is becoming harder to do. Rather than keeping his mounting frustrations to himself, he vocalizes them even though he knows the TV microphones are nearby.

He’s embarrassing himself, but he must not care or else he wouldn’t do it.

Mickelson’s victory stopped what would have been an amazing run for English athletes -Andy Murray winning Wimbledon followed by Chris Froome winning the Tour de France.

Had one of the English golfers won, England might well have declared a national sports holiday, and who could blame them?

Speaking of international sports, I couldn’t believe that one member of the United States Senate, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, called for the USA to boycott the Olympics in Moscow next year due to the ongoing dispute over the custody of Edward Snowden.

We have athletes who have dedicated their lives to competing in the Olympics. To deny them that opportunity over a political dispute is absurd.

Let’s hope Senator Graham finds himself in a minority of one and this one doesn’t grab any traction.

Contact Dave Poe at dpoe@newsandsentinel.com