Phil Mickelson Sets Age Record With Epic Win
Rolex Testimonee Phil Mickelson has won the 103rd PGA Championship, claiming the iconic Wanamaker Trophy for the second time to become the oldest winner in Major championship history and record his sixth career Major victory.
The age-defying American took the $2.1 million top prize with an epic victory for the ages, producing a dazzling shotmaking display at windy Kiawah Island while younger rivals faded.
“It has been an incredible day, 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 fulfillment and accomplishment to do something of this magnitude when very few people thought that I could.”
With 16 years between PGA Championship triumphs, Mickelson owns the longest gap between wins at the same major and erases the major age win mark set by American Julius Boros when he captured the 1968 PGA Championship at age 48.
Holding a one-shot lead heading into the final round, Mickelson displayed impressive accuracy and resilience throughout the tournament, attributes that resonate strongly with Rolex’s own pursuit of perpetual excellence in its watchmaking and all other endeavours.
In winning this historic Championship, which featured 99 of the world’s top 100 players, the 50-year-old American secured the sixth Major title and 45th PGA TOUR® victory of his professional career. He joins an esteemed group of players to have won the PGA Championship more than once including Rolex Testimonees Gary Player (1962, 1972), Jack Nicklaus (1963, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1980), Tiger Woods (1999, 2000, 2006, 2007) and Brooks Koepka (2018, 2019).
On a difficult day of play, Mickelson ground out a final-round one-over par 73 to finish 72 holes on six-under 282 with South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, and Rolex Testimonee Brooks Koepka, a four-time major winner, sharing second on 284.
It was the first major victory for Phil Mickelson since the 2013 British Open, who said, “This is an incredible feeling because I just believed that it was possible, but yet everything was saying it wasn’t and I hope that others find that inspiration. It might take a little bit of extra work, a little bit of harder effort to maintain physically or maintain the skills, but gosh, is it worth it in the end, and I am so appreciative to be holding this Wanamaker Trophy.”
Fellow Rolex Testimonee Tiger Woods, a 15-time major winner and long-time Mickelson rival, tweeted: “Truly inspirational to see @Philmickelson do it again at 50 years of age. Congrats!!!!!!!”
Renowned for its stunning views of the Atlantic coastline, and the swirling winds and challenging natural features, that place a premium on accurate driving and precise iron play, Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course previously hosted the Championship in 2012 and once again produced four days
of exceptional golf. Leading by one-shot after 54 holes, Mickelson closed with a final-round 73 to finish with a six-under-par total of 282, to win by two strokes from the international field.
The crowd, limited to 10,000 people by Covid-19 safety measures, roared with every successful swing by Mickelson, creating an electric atmosphere all day on the punishing Ocean Course, the longest layout in major history at 7,876 yards.
On the front nine, Mickelson answered three bogeys with three birdies in a rollercoaster start, his most astonishing effort a 50-foot chip-in from the sand at the par-3 sixth, for a two-stroke lead at the turn.
The world number 115 sank a 12-foot birdie putt at the 10th while Koepka and Oosthuizen made bogeys to leave Mickelson with a four-stroke edge.
Koepka fell back with three bogeys in the first four holes on the back nine. When Oosthuizen made double bogey at the 13th, Mickelson owned a five-stroke lead with six holes remaining.
Finding water at the 13th, Mickelson made bogey on Sunday’s hardest hole, then missed a seven-foot par putt at the par-3 14th for a bogey that increased the tension, leaving Oosthuizen two adrift and the week’s toughest holes remaining.
Hitting his longest drive of the week at 366 yards, into the 16th fairway, Mickelson then went over the green before pitching within inches from the cup for a tap-in birdie to restore his three-stroke edge.
With the 17th resulting in a bogey, Mickelson drove left at 18 near a hospitality tent from where he put his approach on the green to spark the chaotic finish.
Rolex’s presence as Official Timekeeper and Partner at the PGA Championship is part of its long-standing support for golf that spans more than 50 years. Phil Mickelson adds his name to a long list of Testimonees to have lifted the Wanamaker Trophy, including Gary Player (1962, 1972), Jack Nicklaus (1963, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1980), Tiger Woods (1999, 2000, 2006, 2007), Pádraig Harrington (2008), Martin Kaymer (2010), Jason Day (2015), Justin Thomas (2017) and Brooks Koepka (2018, 2019).