Phil Mickelson produced a storming finish to win his first Open Championship by three shots as Lee Westwood suffered more major heartbreak.
The left-hander broke free of a bunched field with four birdies in the last six holes to post a closing 66 - the joint best round of the week - and a winning total of three-under.
In landing his fifth major title - to add to his three Masters (2004, 2006 and 2010) and one PGA Championship (2005) - he also became the latest storied winner of the Claret Jug at Muirfield, joining a list of champions which includes Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Gary Player and Nick Faldo.
Westwood, who started the day with a two-shot lead as he went in search of a first major title, led by three strokes after a birdie at five. But he couldn't keep pace with Mickelson down the stretch and a closing 75 meant he had to settle for a tie for third with Adam Scott (72) and the fast-finishing Ian Poulter (67).
Swede Henrik Stenson was runner-up after a third one-under 70 of the week.
Mickelson was five shots behind Westwood when he teed off and appeared set for the minor places when he bogeyed the 10th to slip back to one-over.
But he birdied 13 and 14 to get into red figures and found himself in a tie for the lead when Masters champion Scott bogeyed 13.
Prior to that, it looked as if the Australian would atone for last year's late slip at Royal Lytham as he surged into the lead with a run of four birdies in five holes from the seventh to hit two-under.
But as Scott fell away with four bogeys in a row, Mickelson seized his moment.
The left-hander, who won last week's Scottish Open at Castle Stuart, smashed two shots onto the green at 17 and two-putted for birdie to extend his lead to two.
And after an excellent drive and approach at 18 he curled in a 12 foot birdie putt to post the clubhouse target of three-under which he knew was almost certain not to be beaten.
Westwood, on even par, still had a chance but needed to play the final three holes in three-under to force a play-off.
It proved too much. The Englishman, so often the bridesmaid in majors, bogeyed the 16th and then added two pars for a closing four-over 75.
Tiger Woods' hopes of a 15th major and first since 2008 hit the buffers early with three bogeys in the first six holes and it was damage he could never repair.
He eventually finished tied for sixth with fellow American Zach Johnson and Japanese youngster Hideki Matsuyama.
Poulter emerged from the pack after an amazing run of eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie from the ninth. That vaulted him to even par with genuine hope of victory but he played the last five in one-over to finish at one over par.