IIt may seem typical after a shocking sporting result that the champion insists that he always believed he could defy the odds. In Phil Mickelson’s case, the level of continued dedication to his profession makes the above confidence completely credible.
At the age of 50 years, 11 months and seven days, Mickelson became the oldest champion in the main story amid moving scenes at the PGA USA Championship. What came next was not so much a explanation of how Mickelson achieved the best achievement of his career, but the insistence of how he never believed his time on the front line of golf was over.
“He never doubted himself,” explained Tim Mickelson, the champion’s brother and caddy. “His will and desire to win is now higher than ever, in my opinion. He’s certainly probably taller than when I started caddy for him.
“He loves golf. I mean, when he’s at home, he still plays almost every day, sometimes 36 holes. It is grinding. It never stops for him.
“You guys probably couldn’t see it because we haven’t been able to put it together for more than one round, but we all knew it was there. In fact, he had told me three weeks ago, he said, ‘I’m going to win again soon.’ I just said, ‘Well, let’s make sure we’re in contention on a Sunday.’ I was trying to downplay the situation, but he said he was going to win again soon and sure enough it obviously worked. “
The veteran manager of the six-time Major winner Steve Loy echoed Tim Mickelson’s sentiments. “I don’t mean to say this is the final finale, it isn’t,” Loy said. “He thinks he’s 25 years old again. I think he’s going to win five times as much, maybe 10. You can’t say no to him. Every time I try to tell him, ‘Look, we’re running out of time,’ he says, ‘I don’t want to hear it.
Mickelson can now realistically contemplate a 13th Ryder Cup appearance. Not only does the southpaw have greater championship credentials once again, but there are parallels between Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course, where Mickelson eliminated Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen. by two shots, and Whistling Straits, where the United States will host Europe in September.
Meanwhile, golf as a whole has become another marketer’s dream. Before the US PGA, administrators spoke of the boom that various sectors of the sport enjoyed when the coronavirus hit. As an outdoor, socially distant and family-friendly activity, golf benefited while other sports were moved to cold rooms. Now, the heroism of an individual within weeks of turning 51 supports potential gaming longevity, even at the highest level, that is not available elsewhere.
“This may very well be the last tournament I win,” Mickelson admitted. “As if I was being realistic. But it’s also quite possible that I’ve had a little breakthrough in part of my focus and maybe I’ll go for a run for a bit, I don’t know. But the point is, there is no reason why I or anyone else can’t do it at a later age. It just takes a little more work. “
The only negative element associated with Mickelson’s triumph was related to the crowd that flooded 18th Street as he and Koepka completed their final round. Koepka was clearly unhappy with the scene and the 31-year-old later explained that his right knee, which underwent surgery earlier this year, was hit countless times in the melee. “Nobody gave a shit,” Koepka said. Caught in his own moment, Mickelson didn’t realize what was happening to Koepka.
Due to a period of inactivity, Mickelson was unsure whether to accept a special invitation to play at the US Open next month. That important title is the only one that has escaped him so far. That this year’s venue is Torrey Pines, where Mickelson played so much when he was young, only adds to the sudden level of excitement created by what happened in Kiawah.
“I think if I stay in mental shape I can play well at Torrey Pines,” Mickelson said. “I’ll take two weeks off before that and go out to Torrey and spend time, spend time on the greens and really try to get ready for that week because I know I’m playing well. This could be my last really good chance, although I have five more, but a really good chance to win a US Open. So I’m going to put everything I have into it. “
Jack Nicklaus, whose glory at the 1986 Masters at age 46 seemed remarkable at the time, topped the congratulations for Mickelson. “You can see in his eyes that he wants to win,” said Collin Morikawa, the 2020 US PGA champion. Given the events in South Carolina, it would be insane to rule out something equally surprising happening again. Mickelson’s is not an ordinary life story.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism