Duel in the Sun: One of the greatest contests in history
CNN – By: Almee Lewis – July 21, 2017
“The red-hot summer of 1977, the year a gap-toothed twenty-something from Kansas took down golf’s greatest in a final-round scrap like no other.
Forty years on and it is a battle which is still regarded as one of the finest sporting duels in history.
Last year’s British Open thrilled and captivated as Henrik Stenson versus Phil Mickelson unfolded at Royal Troon in an extraordinary contest where records were broken.
It is Stenson versus Mickelson which has the numbers, the history-making scores. Stenson’s 20-under 264 is the lowest score in major history and the 41-year-old Swede’s final-round eight-under-par 63 equaled the lowest score for a major championship round.
But that shootout did not come down to the final putt. It did not involve Jack Nicklaus, the most decorated player in history, being taken down by a player who would become the greatest links golfer of them all.
Turnberry 1977, a golfing bout so good that it is fondly remembered as the “Duel in the Sun.”
Mention it to golf fans not even born four decades ago and they will knowingly nod. Books have been written about it, a restaurant named after it and the 18th hole at Turnberry has been renamed after this never to be forgotten contest.
As the Open takes place in Britain this week, we remember the match that made history.”
Tom Watson reflects on epic ‘Duel in the Sun’ with Jack Nicklaus on 40-year anniversary – and insists Henrik Stenson’s Open victory in 2016 beats it
The Daily Mail – By: Chris Cutmore – July 16, 2017
“It would take a brave man to question Tom Watson’s judgment. This is one of sport’s true gentlemen and his Popeye forearms still look like they could crush golf balls.
So what to make of Watson’s assertion that his win for the ages over Jack Nicklaus at Turnberry, now 40 long summers ago, has finally been surpassed by Henrik Stenson’s incredible battle with Phil Mickelson at Royal Troon last year?
‘I’m often asked about it, just as Stenson and Mickelson will be asked about their epic event – it was better than ours, that’s for sure,’ says Watson.
‘They were much more under par than us and it was quite a shootout. You have to go by the numbers. Numbers are the reality in our business.’
All golfers love to be right on the numbers, and Watson is. Mickelson’s final-round 65 was still not enough to match Stenson’s eight-under-par 63, which tied the major-championship record for a low round, and his 20-under score of 264 set a new major record. At Turnberry, Watson shot a five-under-par round of 65 to Nicklaus’s 66, and he won by a shot on 12 under.
Only, that’s not all there is to it.
Yes, Stenson won The Open with the most staggering scoring. But he did not win The Open where the greatest player of all time was taken down by the young buck who became the greatest links golfer of them all, with the final putt of the championship; he did not win The Open where the fairways at Britain’s most beautiful links were scorched brown and the crowds were so in thrall that they threatened to run riot; he did not win The Open that is still revered as the single greatest major in golfing history.
Watson did. He won the Duel in the Sun.”