For a brief moment on Sunday, it looked like Phil Mickelson was faltering with the heat on again, bogeying the 13th and 14th holes to give the much younger contenders a flicker of hope.
Then Mickelson righted himself, with a par on the 15th and a brilliant drive on the 16th to set up a birdie. From there, he couldn’t be caught at the PGA Championship. The 50-year-old finished at six-under for the tournament to become the oldest major winner in golf history.
His sixth major was a stunning one for Mickelson, whose last major win was the 2013 British Open. He’d only even won two Tour tournaments, forget majors, since then. (He did win two “Champions” events against his fellow old men in 2020.)
The previous oldest major winner was Julius Boros, who won the 1968 PGA at 48. Mickelson turns 51 next month.
“This is just an incredible feeling,” Mickelson said. “I just believed that it was possible but yet everything was saying that it wasn’t.”
Louis Oosthuizen and Brooks Koepka rallied late and finished tied for second at four-under, two strokes back.
Koepka, who had won the PGA in 2018 and 2019, was partnered with Mickelson on Sunday and came into the final round just one shot behind him. But he shot a double-bogey 7 on the second hole, giving Mickelson breathing room for most of the afternoon.
The major was played in front of a raucous, heavily pro-Mickelson crowd on Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
Mickelson actually had to push his way through the crowd that briefly swallowed him up on the way to the eighteenth green, where he clinched the win over Koepka.
“Slightly unnerving, but definitely awesome,” Mickelson said of the unruly crowd at the end.