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updated: 7/23/2013 5:37 AM

Mickelson, Woods two ships passing in the night

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  • Phil Mickelson celebrates Sunday after his final putt on the 18th green during the final round of the British Open at Muirfield.

      Phil Mickelson celebrates Sunday after his final putt on the 18th green during the final round of the British Open at Muirfield.
    Associated Press

 
By Mike North
The Rebel Inside

Phil Mickelson won The Open Championship after coming back from a 5-stroke deficit, but before Sunday's victory the only headlines he was making at Muirfield concerned his thoughts on the unfairness of the course.

He was a 20-to-1 chance to win starting the final round Sunday, and I considered him an afterthought.

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Mickelson surprised everyone by playing the best round of his career; it almost seemed he was lying in the weeds to make his move as he birdied four of the last six holes.

Phil has won his last two tournaments and looks better than at any time in his career. While he was surging, Lee Westwood and Tiger Woods failed to get it done.

Westwood was leading by 2 strokes going into Sunday, but the weight of never winning a major looks like it reared its ugly head as the Englishman couldn't hit a fairway and made some poor decisions along the way.

Woods, who said he didn't play badly even though he shot a 74, yelled profanities at least three times Sunday, picked up by course microphones. He looked frustrated throughout the day.

Woods was in the hunt again and peaked our interest, but it seems Mickelson is playing more like what we expected from Tiger.

Could it be Phil's best golf is ahead of him, while Tiger's is a thing of the past? Mickelson looks confident, content and focused.

And just one more observation: Does Rory Mcilroy look like the next great golfer or the next David Duval? More like a bright meteor that burned out.

It should be a great PGA Championship in a few weeks.

How many wins for Bears?

I'm reading that the Bears will be expected to be a playoff team this year after winning 10 games last season.

As training camp opens this week, my first impression is that's a tall order to expect with the departure of captain Brian Urlacher and addition of first-year head coach Marc Trestman.

Don't forget the Bears were 28th in offense last year. They should be better this year, but by how much?

Can we expect the defense to score 9 touchdowns again? That might be tough to duplicate, plus guys like Lance Briggs and Peanut Tillman are a year older.

Also, Minnesota, Detroit and Green Bay all will be better this year.

I have the Bears on the outside looking in when it comes time for the playoffs.

I hope I'm wrong.

Programming note:

Watch me on "Mancow" on WPWR Channel 50 at 6:30 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

•Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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