At the ripe old age of 50, Phil Mickelson has made history becoming the oldest-ever major winner after claiming the 2021 PGA Championship.
As professional golfers start to creep up on the half-century mark, they begin to turn their eye on the Champions Tour. The place where old golfers do and try and win again among players their own age.
When Phil Mickelson turned 50 last year and chalked up two Champions Tour victories, you could be forgiven for thinking this was going to be his new home. No one would’ve been surprised to see him take home a stack of trophies well into his sixties.
You could also be forgiven for thinking Mickelson had no chance at the brutally long Ocean Course at Kiawah Island; a golf course that has most pundits focused on the requirement to drive the golf ball long, and straight.
And while this was the case, it turned out that the golf course forced long-irons into the hands of big-hitting golfers normally used to hitting gap wedges into greens. And it required an old head to negotiate hazardous Pete dye layout and the ever-present wind that protects it.
at 50 years, 11 months and 7 days old, Mickelson’s final-round 73 meant his tournament 6-under par was good enough to finish two strokes ahead of Louis Oosthuizen and Brooks Koepka.
After finding the left-hand side of the fairway on the 18th hole, the approach shot to 16-feet meant the history-making moment and his sixth major title was assured.
“Certainly one of the moments I’ll cherish my entire life,” Mickelson said. “I don’t know how to describe the feeling of excitement and fulfilment and accomplishment to do something when — you know, of this magnitude when very few people thought that I could.”
In the end, four of the top-7 golfers at the 2021 PGA Championship were over 40-years old, with Phil Mickelson leading the way.
Phil Mickelson 70-69-70-73—282 (-6)
Louis Oosthuizen 71-68-72-73—284 (-4)
Brooks Koepka 69-71-70-74—284 (-4)
Shane Lowry 73-71-73-69—286 (-2)
Padraig Harrington 71-73-73-69—286 (-2)
Harry Higgs 72-71-73-70—286 (-2)
Paul Casey 71-71-73-71—286 (-2)
“So it’s very possible that this is the last tournament I ever win. Like if I’m being realistic. But it’s also very possible that I may have had a little bit of a breakthrough in some of my focus and maybe I go on a little bit of a run, I don’t know.”
Mickelson’s two-stroke victory was preceded by chaotic scenes on the final hole that seems appropriate to a venue familiar tournament mayhem.
The shots of the gallery storming the fairway at the 18th hole were reminiscent of major championships of yesteryear.
Both players in the final group were swarmed by the crowd after they’d hit their approach shots with Koepka, chasing his fifth major title taking several minutes to make his way through the throng and on to the final green, making his disgust known soon after.
“It would’ve been cool if I didn’t have a knee injury and got dinged a few times in the knee in that crowd,” Koepka said. “‘Cause no one really gave a shit.”
Truly inspirational to see @PhilMickelson do it again at 50 years of age. Congrats!!!!!!!
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) May 23, 2021
The full video of the chaos that ensued as Mickelson and Koepka walked up the 18th hole.