Phil Mickelson Becomes Oldest Major Champion After Victory At PGA Championship

May 23, 2021, 5:10 PM
Phil Mickelson PGA Championship 2021 Winner...
Phil Mickelson of the United States reacts to his birdie on the seventh hole during the final round of the 2021 PGA Championship held at the Ocean Course of Kiawah Island Golf Resort on May 23, 2021 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Phil Mickelson, 50, has won the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island and in doing so became the oldest major champion of all time.

He surpassed Julius Boros, who was 48 when he won the 1968 PGA Championship at Pecan Valley Golf Course in San Antonio, Texas.

To date, 455 majors had been played, and no one older than Phil Mickelson had ever won one before the 2021 PGA Championship. It was the 6th major of his career, which is tied for 12th all time.

Sunday At Kiawah Island

Mickelson began the final round with a narrow one-shot lead on the field and after the first hole, Brooks Koepka was tied for the lead following a Mickelson bogey and Koepka birdie.

Sunday at Kiawah Island was destined to produce.

Mickelson then chipped in on 5 to lift the gallery into a chaotic roar. Golf had clearly missed the fans.

But Mickelson, who won his first PGA Tour event 30 years ago, remained calm with the help of his brother, Tim, on the bag. He made the turn with a two-shot lead.

Kiawah Island is a golf course in which wind dictates shot selection and unlike the previous three days, the wind was directly into the players from 10 through 14. Mickelson didn’t seem to care.

On the 10th, Mickelson hit a tremendous wedge to 10 feet, which he buried only for Lefty! Lefty! Lefty! chants to rain on the Atlantic Ocean coastline.

Back Nine Wind, Mickelson Responds

But three holes later cracks began to appear in the formidable fan favorite. His follow-through became short and his ability began to question itself. A bogey dropped on 13 after trickling his approach into the nearby water.

On the following hole, the par 3 14th, he was unable to find the green. Chipped to within 6 feet and pulled his par attempt to record back-to-back bogeys and the lead was cut to just two shots.

Koepka was doing everything he could to hang in contention, his putter, however, was constantly letting him down. Instead, it was the South African Louis Oosthuizen who made his move on 16 to put pressure on Mickelson.

Mickelson responded, playing in the group behind Oosthuizen, and after hearing the roars from the Oosthuizen birdie moments earlier, drained his own birdie on 16 to send the Kiawah Island fans into a frenzy. The lead, with two holes to play, jumped back to three shots.

Koepka was never going to go down without a fight. He birdied 15 and 16 to sit three shots back with 2 to play.

On the par 3 17th, Koepka had the honors and hit a great shot up the left side of the green. Mickelson hit his on the exact same line as Koepka but caught a big hop off the putting surface and into the thick shrubbery behind the green.

The golfing world took a collective breath as they anticipated Mickelson’s next move. He was buried in tall grass, 5 feet from the fringe of the green, 25 feet from the pin with water looming 10 feet behind the flagstick.

Mickelson opted for the safe approach and punched out to leave himself with a 15-foot look at par. He missed but tapped in for bogey. Koepka, however, made par. Mickelson’s lead was down to 2 shots with 1 hole remaining.

History Made

After driving the ball into the left rough on 18, Mickelson hit the shot of his tournament to 10 feet. The 18th fairway was flooded by fans and Mickelson required security to keep him safe from the patrons.

The images will live forever. Lefty was home safe and history was made.

“This is just an incredible scene,” commentator Jim Nantz said prior to Mickelson’s history-making putt.





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