When the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island concludes on Sunday evening, Phil Mickelson may or may not be hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy for the second time. But no matter the outcome, Mickelson, who at the age of 50 would become the oldest winner of a major championship if he is able to hang on at the Ocean Course, has already made a little golf history.
Phil Mickelson shot 70-69 over the first two days at the 2021 PGA Championship
Mickelson may have needed a special exemption to get into the field at next month’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines but as he’s a past winner of the PGA Championship (2005), that wasn’t necessary this week. Nobody was really giving the five-time major champion much of a chance coming into this championship and he didn’t get off to the greatest start. He was 3-over through his first six holes but shot 5-under the rest of the way to finish with a 2-under 70, leaving him just three shots back of the lead. It was certainly a Phil kind of round as he hit just six fairways but saved a lot of strokes with his always-impressive short game to keep himself in the mix.
The gusty winds became the major story at Kiawah Island on Friday but Mickelson really didn’t seem to be bothered at all, although he did have the luxury of going out early. Nevertheless, Lefty played another solid round of golf, carding six birdies, five on the back nine alone, against three bogeys for a 3-under round of 69. His 5-under total after 36 holes was good enough to put him in a tie for the lead with Louis Oosthuizen and was also good enough to put him in quite the exclusive club.
Mickelson is one of just six players since 1900 to lead or co-lead a major championship in four different decades
As the co-leader of the PGA Championship after 36 holes, Mickelson, who turned professional in 1992, became just the sixth men’s golfer since 1900 to lead or co-lead a major championship in four different decades. Here’s the updated look at this exclusive club:
Six players. Six Hall of Famers.
Phil would become the oldest major champion in history with a win at the PGA Championship
As the 36-hole co-leader of the PGA Championship, Mickelson is the oldest golfer to lead or co-lead a major championship since 52-year-old Fred Couples shared the 36-hole lead at The Masters back in 2012, a tournament in which Phil was actually in contention and tied for third.
Couples obviously didn’t go on to win his second green jacket that week but if Mickelson can hang on at Kiawah Island, he would become the oldest winner of a major championship in history. Phil will be 50 years, 11 months, and seven days old on Sunday and would surpass Julius Boros, who was 48 years, four months, and 18 days old when he won the 1968 PGA Championship.
Stats courtesy of PGATour.com