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Phil Mickelson Defies Father Time At PGA Championship, Becomes Oldest Major Winner

By Karen Price | May 23, 2021, 7:59 p.m. (ET)

Phil Mickelson celebrates on the 18th green after winning during the final round of the 2021 PGA Championship on May 23, 2021 in Kiawah Island, S.C.


The seasoned veteran became the champion once more as Phil Mickelson became the oldest player ever to win a golf major at the PGA Championship on Sunday.

The 50-year-old ended the day on Saturday at the top of the leaderboard with a one-stroke lead and kept his spot throughout the final afternoon of play on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, South Carolina. With fellow American Brooks Koepka and South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen staying within striking distance and the ever-increasing crowd chanting his Lefty nickname, Mickelson went about his business with a few highlight shots in the process.

When Koepka and Oosthuizen both bogeyed the 10th hole, Mickelson responded with a birdie to keep his four-shot cushion. On the par-5 16th hole, he hit the longest drive of the week at 366 yards. The longtime Ryder Cup participant bogeyed the 17th hole but nonetheless went to 18 at 6-under with a two-stroke lead.

Using a 9-iron, Mickelson delivered on his drive on the 18th hole to all but seal the win and the sea of humanity behind him went nuts. He two-putted for a final-round 73 and a four-round total of 282, two strokes ahead of Koepka and Oosthuizen.

This was Mickelson’s sixth major and his first since 2013. He won the PGA Championship one other time, back in 2005. He won his first major at the 2004 Masters. His six majors are tied for 12th-most all time.

Before Sunday, the oldest major winner of all-time was Julius Boros, who won the 1968 PGA Championship at 49 years, four months and 18 days old. Mickelson will turn 51 on June 16. Officially, he won at 50 years, 11 months and seven days.

With the U.S. Open as the cutoff for qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, the jockeying for U.S. spots continues. Mickelson is unlikely to represent the U.S. based on the Olympic Golf Rankings, which computes results from July 1, 2018.

Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele, who were first and third in the Olympic Golf Rankings and the top two Americans entering the PGA Championship, missed the cut. Bryson DeChambeau was fourth in the OGR and finished tied for 38th, while reigning PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa was fifth in the rankings and tied for eighth at the PGA.

Karen Price

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.