SANDWICH, ENGLAND — In Northern Ireland, from Portrush on the northern coast through the city of Belfast in the east and into the wee town of Holywood, they will celebrate Sunday’s events here. Yet another one of their own, 42-year-old Darren Clarke, won the British Open with a never-show-you’re-nervous performance at Royal St. George’s. With his closing even-par 70, in intermittent downpours and unrelenting wind, Clarke finished at 5-under 275, three shots clear of the field, becoming the third different Ulsterman in the past six majors to win a championship.
But in the United States, where major championships were once a birthright, what memories remain? Phil Mickelson’s thrilling ride to a tie for the lead with an eagle at the seventh? That was marred by . . . well, pick one from a bevy of miscues: a missed two-foot par putt at the 11th to slow momentum, a jacked 9-iron that flew the green from the middle of the 13th fairway for another bogey, a missed five-footer for birdie at 14 to lose the juice completely, and back-to-back bogeys at 15 and 16 that left him merely a bystander.