Robin Barwick reports from the Open 2014 as Phil Mickelson returns the Claret Jug he won in 2013

Mark Calcavecchia said the Claret Jug “is the coolest trophy in golf”, and Phil Mickelson illustrated why that might be the case after he had returned the Claret Jug to Peter Dawson today at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

“It has been a really fun year with the Jug,” started Mickelson, 44, who won the 2013 Open at Muirfield. “I’ve been able to share it with a lot of the family and friends who have been helpful throughout my career. It was fun to see the faces of people who have such reverence for this championship, and what it means to them to have their picture taken with it or to take a sip out of it.”

Mickelson shot one of the rounds of his career to win the 2013 Open, a five-under-par 66 Sunday best that saw him surge from the pack to claim the Open Championship for the first time, and his fifth major.

Last year he arrived at Muirfield having just won the Scottish Open, but this year the Californian returns with a less convincing recent record, with his only top-10 result this year coming in Abu Dhabi in January.

“Obviously it has not been a good year,” said Mickelson, who did shoot 65, six under par, in the final round of the Scottish Open on Sunday, “but the parts feel a lot better than the whole right now. I don’t know when it will all click together, but it should be soon.”

Mickelson claims he is “Not discouraged and I am not frustrated” by his poor recent results, and in fact, he doesn’t look to be, while he did seem to enjoy recalling how one friend used the Claret Jug to serve “a few bottles” of 1990 Romanee Conti Burgundy. Not a ‘claret’ as such, but a wine that commands five-figure price tags per bottle, that out-strips the cost of most cars.

At least Mickelson cannot be accused of not enjoying his success.

Robin Barwick travelled to the Open Championship courtesy of Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz is global sponsor of the Masters, patron of the Open Championship and official car of the PGA Championship