Over the course of three decades on the PGA Tour, Phil Mickelson has accomplished just about everything a golfer could dream of. OK, so he’s still one leg short of the career Grand Slam as he’s never been able to win the U.S. Open, famously finishing as the runner-up at America’s national championship a record six times. But with victories at The Masters, The Open Championship, and PGA Championship, he’s one of just a dozen players to have won three different majors and one of just 19 players with five or more majors overall. He has the eighth-most victories in PGA Tour history, has made a dozen appearances in both the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, and has made more than $92 million in on-course earnings, not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars in endorsements.
But despite all of that, did you know Mickelson was never the top-ranked player in the world?
Phil Mickelson has 44 wins on the PGA Tour
Mickelson currently has the eighth-most victories on the PGA Tour with 44, his first actually coming as a 20-year amateur at the Northern Telecom Open in Tucson, Arizona, in January 1991. He turned pro in 1992, got back in the winner’s circle in 1993, and won at least one tournament every year for the remainder of the decade besides 1999.
While everyone remembers Tiger Woods‘ historic 2000 season, it’s easy to forget Lefty had four victories that year, including the Tour Championship. Once again, there was only one year in the 2000s in which Mickelson didn’t record at least one win, that being 2003. While he didn’t see that same success in the 2010s, Phil still notched seven victories over the course of the decade, including two of his five major championships.
Lefty has five major championship victories
For quite a few years, Mickelson held the title nobody wants: the best player without a major championship. Leading into The Masters in 2004, Phil had made 46 starts in majors, 43 as a professional, and had recorded 17 top-10 and nine top-five finishes. He finally got over the hump at Augusta in ’04 and did so in dramatic fashion as he drained a slick, 20-foot putt on the 72nd hole to claim a one-stroke victory over Ernie Els.
Mickelson went on to win majors in each of the next two seasons, the 2005 PGA Championship and the 2006 Masters, and later added the 2010 Masters and the 2013 Open Championship to his resume.
Mickelson spent 28 consecutive years in the top 100 of the world rankings but never reached the No. 1 spot
Despite all of his accomplishments on the golf course, Mickelson somehow never reached the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking. One would think he might have gotten there when he won those three major championships from 2004-2006 but the only two players to hold the No. 1 spot during that span were Tiger and Vijay Singh. Phil reached the No. 2 position on numerous occasions, first in 2001 and most recently in 2013, and spent a total of 270 weeks in that spot, all with Tiger ranked at No. 1.
Although he never reached the top spot, Mickelson spent 1,353 consecutive weeks in the top 50 (just over 26 years) and 1,425 consecutive weeks (27-plus years) in the top 100 before dropping to 101st on March 7, 2021.