GULLANE, Scotland – While Phil Mickelson was hoisting the claret jug on the 18th green to roars and applause, Lee Westwood was about 40 yards away in the corner of a press tent, explaining how yet another major championship got away from him.
I wanted to be there on the 18th green right now, thats pretty obvious, Westwood said, briefly turning his eyes to a nearby TV screen to see Mickelson parading the trophy.
Seeking a first major title to erase his nearly man tag, Westwood began the final round of the British Open with a two-stroke lead. But he shot a 4-over 75 to finish four strokes behind the fast-finishing Mickelson, tied for third place with Ian Poulter and Adam Scott.
Im not too disappointed, Westwood said. I dont really get disappointed with golf anymore.
This was Westwoods eighth top-three finish in 62 majors and, at 40, he may never have a better chance again.
Adam Scotts collapse in the final round at the British Open wasnt nearly as spectacular as it was a year ago.
The end result was still the same.
For the second year in a row Scott held the lead on the back nine; for the second year in a row he left without his name on the claret jug.
Even the green jacket he won in between at the Masters couldnt ease the sting of this one.
I think the disappointing thing is this one I felt I wasted a little bit, Scott said. I would have liked to be in at the end and no one was, actually. Its a shame.
Three straight bogeys on the back nine sealed the fate of the Masters champion, eliminating him from contention.
Last year at the Open at Lytham, Scott had a four-shot lead with four holes to play and all that seemed left to do was prepare his victory speech. But Scott finished with a string of bogeys that cost him the title.
No happy ending
Ian Poulter made a bevy of brilliant putts to surge into unexpected contention at the British Open and bring back memories of the Miracle of Medinah.
There was no happy ending this time, though.
Poulter hit a hot streak around the turn to pick up five shots in four holes and move within two shots of faltering leader Westwood.
Poulter had rediscovered the putting form that saw him win a crucial point for Europe on the Saturday of last years Ryder Cup in Medinah. It couldnt last.
He finished on 4-under 67, tied for third and four shots behind Mickelson.
This tournament does it year in, year out, and it creates a lot of drama, Poulter said.
Former Purdue golfer Shiv Kapur ended the British Open with an even-par 71 to leave him at 15-over 299 and tied for 73rd for the tournament.
Kapur opened with a 3-under 68 and tied for fourth but a 77 and 83 in the second and third round sent him down the leader board.