Phil Mickelson has become the oldest men’s major golf champion of all time with a two-shot victory in the 2021 US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in South Carolina.
In incredible scenes that haven’t been seen since before the Covid-19 pandemic, and rarely even before that, the final pairing of Mickelson and Brooks Koepka were completely swallowed up by the roaring crowd on the 18th fairway, stopping short of the green to allow Mickelson to putt out the championship.
At the age of 50 years, 11 months and 7 days Mickelson is the oldest player to have ever won a major, the only player to win a major after his 50th birthday and won his second PGA Championship, his first major for eight years with a final-round score of 1-over 73 to finish 6-under, 2 shots ahead of Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen on 4-under par.
The scenes of pandemonium on the 18th were not lost on Mickelson.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had an experience like that, but thank you for that,” Mickelson laughed at the presentation ceremony.
“Slightly unnerving but exceptionally awesome so thank you and for the way you have supported the game of golf for so many years going all the way back to the 91 Ryder Cup this place has been a big part of the game of golf so thank you everyone here at Kiawah Island and South Carolina.”
On the cusp of history.
Incredible scenes at Kiawah!#PGAChamp
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) May 23, 2021
It was a final round that saw crowds and commentators alike hold their breath multiple times as they road every they rode every bogey and birdie with the veteran.
It was like a rollercoaster on the front nine with bogey, birdie and then bogey on the first three holes and the birdie, bogey birdie on from 5 to7 to turn on even par for the day.
The players around Mickelson were always there about but couldn’t get in front of him, even after the two bogeys in a row on 13 and 14, Mickelson held strong and when he teed off on the final hole he had a two-shot buffer and that was his victory margin.
“This is just an incredible feeling as 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 extra work or a little bit harder effort to maintain physically or maintain the skills but gosh its worth it in the end and I’m so appreciative to be holding this Wanamaker Trophy.
“I just love the game of golf and I love that I do and I love the challenge of competing against such great players.
“What an incredible competitor and tough player Brooks Koepka is, and to have a chance to play in the final group with him was an exceptional honour.
“It’s been really fun for me to see his development. I remember playing a practice round with him in 2013 at Oak Hill PGA Championship, first time we ever played together, and seeing the way his game has developed, and what a tough player he is. It was a really difficult task for me to go head-to-head and come out on top and I’m appreciative of the opportunity.”