46-year-old Phil Mickelson falls just short in 2016 Open Championship

The 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon in Scotland turned out to be a two-horse race as Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson were far ahead of the rest of the pack when all was said and done.

The 46-year-old Mickelson was seeking his seventh major championship and his second at the Open Championship. The 40-year-old Stenson was seeking his first major title and, in fact, was looking to become the first man from his home country of Sweden to win any golf major.

Despite their age, the two men put on one of the most impressive golf duels in recent memories as they left their younger competition in the dust.

Entering the 13th hole, the two golfers were tied at 16-under, but it was Stenson who pulled away, birdieing four of his last five holes to beat Mickelson by three strokes.

The win was an impressive one for Stenson, who shot a combined 264 over the four rounds of the major. This broke the record for lowest score in a major which previously held by David Toms who shot a 265 in the 2001 PGA Championship.

Stenson is now the fourth man in the last six years to win the Open Championship in his 40s, joining a list which actually includes Mickelson who did it in 2013.

However, what will likely overshadow Stenson’s win is Mickelson’s loss. At 46 years old, Mickelson is likely nearing the end of his run atop the golfing world and this may have been his last chance to walk away with a major.

While Mickelson has been a major champion an impressive six times, he has finished as the runner-up in majors even more than that. The 2016 Open Championship was his tenth second-place finish in a major for his career including six such finishes at the U.S. Open.

Incredibly, in the history of golf majors, the 267 Mickelson shot for the weekend would have been good enough to win all but four of those majors.

Mickelson is revered by fans of the sport and he will likely go down as one of the greatest professional golfers ever, but he is also a man defined by his losses and near-misses as much as he is by his victories.

The 2016 Open Championship is just the latest in a long line of narrow misses which will be talked about when discussing Mickelson’s career alongside his consistency and his successes.

Kevin Durant joins Warriors to form latest super-team

After weeks of speculation and rumors about where he would play in 2016, Kevin Durant announced Monday he would be signing with the Golden State Warriors.

The contract, which is reportedly for 2 years and $54.5 million, is not the largest one of this year’s free agency period. That honor goes to Mike Conley who rode 13 points and five assists per game to a five-year, $153 million contract with the Grizzlies.

However, it may be the most important contract of the offseason as it brings Durant onto a Warriors team which won 73 games in the regular season before losing to the Cavaliers in seven games in the NBA Finals.

The Warriors only real free agency loss this season will likely be Harrison Barnes, who is rumored for a max contract with the Dallas Mavericks, and the addition of Durant makes the Warriors a super-team.

Durant has been an offensive force since joining the NBA as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, averaging 27 points and four assists per game while also throwing in seven rebounds per appearance.

The Warriors starting five will be hard to top as it will likely now have two-time MVP Steph Curry, three-point sharpshooter Klay Thompson, the aforementioned Durant, all-around player Draymond Green and the underrated Andrew Bogut.

Super-teams have become a more common occurrence over the last ten years or so, but few have been as stacked from top-to-bottom.

The Celtics built one around Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett and rode them to two finals appearance in 2008 and 2010 with an NBA championship over the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Miami Heat created their own Big Three when they signed LeBron James and Chris Bosh to play alongside Dwayne Wade. The Heat took advantage of James in his prime to make four consecutive finals from 2011 to 2014 including two championships in 2012 and 2013.

LeBron was part of another Big Three, and one which is still going, when he returned to Cleveland in 2014 and was joined by Kyrie Irving and a traded-for Kevin Love.  The Cavaliers have made finals appearance the last two years and are the current NBA champions.

However, what the Warriors have now assembled has the potential to top them all because the other recent super-teams have been defined by a Big Three, but the Warriors arguably now what can be described as a Big Four with Curry, Thompson, Green and Durant.

Time will tell if this new version of the Warriors can co-exist and function at a same or higher level as the Warriors of last season did. History shows us that super-teams usually take at least one year of working together before they bring home a championship.

Regardless of how the Durant deal works out down the line, for now the Warriors are the clear favorite for the NBA championship in the 2016-2017 season.