Mickelson Becomes Oldest Golfer to Win a Major


At 50, most professional athletes are retired. In fact at 50, most athletes have been retired for more than a decade.

Golf, of course, is different. Golfers routinely play into their 40s, and then at 50, they become eligible for the Champions Tour. A golf career never really dies.

So maybe it doesn’t sound all that impressive that 50-year-old Phil Mickelson won the PGA Championship on May 23. But consider that, of the top 160 earners on the PGA Tour this year, just two — Mickelson and Steve Stricker — are older than 50. Also, consider that Mickelson hasn’t won a Major Championship since 2013. Golfers on the tour might compete into their 40s and 50s, but it’s rare that they’re competitive.

And Mickelson didn’t just stumble into a victory. As he approached 50, he decided to commit to a healthier diet; something he had never really done before. “I wasn’t educated,” Phil told GOLF in 2020. “I either wasn’t aware or didn’t want to know the things I was putting in my body.”



The change in diet led to significant weight loss, and to a stronger, healthier Phil. And while the physical improvement is important — he’s hitting the ball as hard and as far as the younger players he’s competing against — Mickelson has also made some mental adjustments. In fact, he credited his win to the meditation he’s been doing, and to playing 36+ hole practice sessions that he says lengthen his attention span.

Mickelson could have chosen the relative anonymity of the Champions Tour, but it’s clear that he wanted something more. What’s also now clear is that he still has the drive and the work ethic — at 50 years old, no less — to keep pace with the best in the world.

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