Phil Mickelson rolled back the years at Kiawah Island
Mickelson held his nerve to win the USPGA Championship
As the pressure built and the crowds jostled for a sight of history, it would’ve been easy for Phil Mickelson to crumble.
A golfer who many believe would have won many more major championships if he hadn’t happened to peak at the same time as Tiger Woods, Mickelson was presented with a golden opportunity to win his sixth major amid blustery conditions in the final round of the PGA Championship at the Ocean Course, Kiawah Island.
You could have forgiven him some shaky knees and nervy moments, but Mickelson’s final round was a reminder of the old adage that class is permanent.
All missteps were made up for with birdies, and while it’s fair to say that neither Brooks Koepka nor Louis Oosthuizen produced their best in trying to topple him, Mickelson rolled back the years in South Carolina to defy the odds on sites like Betdaq.
“This is just an incredible feeling. I just believed that it was possible yet everything was saying it wasn’t and I hope that others find that inspiration,” Mickelson reflected as he held the Wanamaker Trophy.
“It may take a little extra work and harder effort to maintain the physicality, or maintain the skills, but gosh is it worth it in the end. I just love this game and I love what I do and I love the challenge of competing against such great players.”
At the grand old age of 50, Mickelson became the oldest winner of a major championship in the history of the game, and proved that the modern players have not quite left the old guard in their wake just yet.
A trademark ‘bomb’ from the 16th tee was the moment where the gathered patrons, along with millions watching on TV, truly believed that Mickelson would do it.
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Those who follow Mickelson’s social channels will be well aware of his jovial personality, and the fact that he doesn’t always take himself that seriously. However, that jocular character was nowhere to be seen on Sunday at the PGA.
With his eyes hidden behind dark shades, Mickelson was in full business mode on a back nine that was proving exceptionally difficult throughout the afternoon.
The American triumphed, not through an exceptional final round, but through his ability to limit the damage on those final nine holes.
Koepka and Oosthuizen didn’t handle the conditions with the same level of aplomb, and that gave Mickelson the simple task of getting his head down and making pars.
The scenes that accompanied Mickelson and Koepka on the 18th were breathtaking and exhilarating, as well as slightly uncomfortable.
As both men hit their shots down the fairway, crowds gathered en masse behind them, as the tournament officials struggled to contain those jockeying for the best view of the 18th green.
Mickelson described it as “unnerving, but exceptionally awesome”. Koepka was less diplomatic.
But while the crowd undoubtedly overstepped the line, it was a relief to see big crowds at a sporting event, and Mickelson gave them memories to last a lifetime.
It’s fair to say that no-one really believed that he had another major title in him, but with half a century behind him, you don’t need to tell Mickelson that life is full of surprises.
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