Phil Mickelson rewrote golf history by becoming the oldest player to win a major title following a nerve-racking two-shot victory at the PGA Championship on Sunday.
At 50 years, 11 months and 7 days old, the American veteran star claimed his sixth major crown and 45th PGA TOUR title with a closing 1-over 73 helping him see off the challenges of Louis Oosthuizen (73) and Brooks Koepka (74), who finished tied second at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.
Left-landed Mickelson, who took a one-shot lead into the final round, defeated Father Time and a stellar field to replace Julius Boros (48 years, 4 months, 18 days/1968 PGA Championship) as the oldest major champion. He also joined Sam Snead, Davis Love III and Raymond Floyd to win in four different decades on the PGA TOUR.
“I mean this is just an incredible feeling. I just believed that this was possible but yet everything was saying it wasn’t. I hope that others find that inspiration. It might take a little extra work and a bit harder effort to maintain physically and maintain the skills but gosh, it is worth it in the end. I’m so appreciative to hold this Wannamaker Trophy,” said a jubilant Mickelson, who ended the week on 6-under 282.
“I just love this game of golf and I love what I do and I love the challenge of competing against these great players. I don’t think I have had such an experience like that.”
Koepka, who was chasing his fifth major title, paid tribute to Mickelson after their head-to-head duel. “Just how bad I putted the last two days. Three days, actually. It felt like tap-ins I was missing. Never felt comfortable, and you're not going to win if you do that,” said Koepka.
“The thing was, Phil played great. That whole stretch when we turned after 4 and 5 and played those holes, it's into off the left for me and that's quite difficult for a right-handed player. And it suited Phil right down to the ground, and I thought he played that entire stretch from about 6 to 13 so well. I'm happy for him, Amy and Tim (his brother-caddie). It's pretty cool to see but a bit disappointed in myself.”
Korea’s Sungjae Im finished as the leading Asian player in the elite field in tied 17th position after carding a final round 73 for a 288 total. It was his best finish in the PGA Championship in four appearances.
A month after an historic Masters victory, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama carded a final round 72 to finish in a share of 23rd position.
Final-Round Notes – Sunday, May 23, 2021
Weather: Partly cloudy. High of 83. Wind WSW 10-15 mph with gusts of 20 mph.
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)
Things to Know
- Phil Mickelson wins his sixth major championship title, and second at the PGA Championship, at the age of 50 years, 11 months, 7 days, becoming the oldest major winner in PGA TOUR history and first player to win a major after age 50
- Mickelson wins his 45th PGA TOUR title and first since turning 50 on June 16, 1970
- 30 years, 4 months, 10 days have passed since Mickelson earned his first PGA TOUR title at the 1991 Northern Telecom Open as an amateur, the longest time between wins by a player in TOUR history
- Mickelson becomes the fourth player to win PGA TOUR events in four different decades (others: Sam Snead, Raymond Floyd, Davis Love III)
- Brooks Koepka finishes T2, his seventh win or runner-up finish in a major since the start of 2017
Photo Credit: Getty Images