The 2021 PGA Championship from the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is officially in the books and 50-year-old Phil Mickelson is now the oldest major champion in the long and storied history of golf. In claiming his second Wanamaker Trophy and sixth major overall, Lefty also set another impressive record and joined a number of highly exclusive clubs, all of which we’ll get to shortly. But we wanted to start today with a moment many people may have missed during the CBS broadcast that might have been the highlight of Mickelson’s victory.
Phil Mickelson gave his bunker chip-in ball to a young fan in a wheelchair
Following a rollercoaster start to his final round in which he carded two bogeys, one birdie, and one par over the first four holes, Mickelson pushed his tee shot at the 214-yard, par-3 fifth hole into the greenside bunker, which seemingly opened the door for Brooks Koepka to again tie him at the top of the leaderboard. But we all know what Phil can do around the greens and he showed off some of that Mickelson magic with a miraculous chip-in birdie that will forever be the main highlight shown when the 2021 PGA Championship is discussed. As it should be. The shot itself was spectacular and combined with the hot crowd reaction and yet another brilliant call from Verne Lundquist made for the perfect golf moment.
But the real highlight came just a few moments later.
As Mickelson made his way from the fifth to the sixth, he noticed a young fan in a wheelchair and actually took the time to stop and chat with him for a moment while also offering up the golf ball used for that special shot.
That’s what you call a highlight. To make a young man’s day like that while grinding through the final round of a major championship truly speaks to the love Phil has for his fans and just proved yet again why he’s the people’s champion.
Phil is now the oldest major champion in history and also set another impressive record with his win at the PGA Championship
Before Sunday, the oldest winner of a major championship was Julius Boros, who was 48 years, four months, and 18 days old when he won the 1968 PGA Championship at Pecan Valley Golf Club in San Antonio, a course that no longer exists. Mickelson now holds the title at 50 years, 11 months, and seven days.
With 16 years between his two wins at the PGA Championship, Phil also now owns the record of the longest gap between victories at the same major and also joined a number of highly exclusive clubs.
Mickelson joined a number of exclusive clubs after winning the PGA Championship
Mickelson’s win at the PGA Championship was his 45th official win on the PGA Tour and he’s now one of just eight golfers to reach that number, joining Sam Snead (82), Tiger Woods (82), Jack Nicklaus (73), Ben Hogan (64), Arnold Palmer (62), Byron Nelson (52), Billy Casper (51), and Walter Hagen (45).
Phil is also now one of just 14 players to win six major championships, joining Nicklaus (18), Woods (15), Hagen (11), Hogan (nine), Gary Player (nine), Tom Watson (eight), Palmer (seven), Snead (seven), Gene Sarazen (seven), Bobby Jones (seven), Harry Vardon (seven), Nick Faldo (six), and Lee Trevino (six).
He’s also now one of just four players with an official PGA Tour win in four different decades, joining Snead, Raymond Floyd, and Davis Love III.
Stats courtesy of PGATour.com