History Made: Phil Mickelson wins the PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson - PGA Championship Golf
Phil Mickelson holds the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the PGA Championship golf tournament on the Ocean Course, Sunday, May 23, 2021, in Kiawah Island, S.C. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Golf history was made in the 103rd PGA Championship at the par 72 Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, with 50-year-old Phil Mickelson becoming the oldest major champion, bettering the mark set by 48-year-old Julius Boros in the 1968 PGA. Mickelson also set the record for the longest period of time between victories at the PGA Championship, with 16 years between titles.

It was the popular player’s sixth major championship, tying him with Nick Faldo and Lee Trevino for 12th place on the all-time list and still leaving him a U.S. Open win away from becoming the sixth player to win the career Grand Slam. Mickelson had recently accepted a special exemption to play in next month’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, but his win on Sunday earned him a spot in the tournament for the next five years, so that invitation will have to wait until at least 2026.

Mickelson entered the tournament at odds of +28000 to win against a field that included 99 of the top 100 players in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR).

Mickelson Entered the Week at as Longshot

The win was as unlikely as it was popular, with Mickelson showing very little signs that he was playing well enough to beat one of the deepest fields in professional golf over what is arguably the toughest courses on the major championship rotation, if not all of tournament golf. He opened with a seven-under-par 64 at the Wells Fargo Championship three weeks ago but faded after following it up with three over par rounds. 

It was the second time the Ocean Course had hosted the tournament, and with the exception of the winning score, the course played about the same relative to par as it did in 2012. That year, Rory McIlroy lapped the field, finishing at 13 under par, eight shots better than runner-up David Lynn. 

This time around, Mickelson shot six-under-par to defeat Louis Oosthuizen and Brooks Koepka by two shots after an exciting final round 73 that saw a number of two and three-shot swings among the leaders on a number of holes. Somehow, Mickelson always found a way to return to the top of the leaderboard and held on for his 45th career PGA Tour victory.

Mickelson entered the tournament at odds of +28000 to win against a field that included 99 of the top 100 players in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR), and he won $2,160,000 and 600 FedEx Cup points for the victory. With his play at the Ocean Course and his familiarity with Torrey Pines near San Diego, where he has won three times, it’s likely his odds will be much better to win the U.S. Open, just before which he will turn 51.

Tournament Favorites Results

Pre-tournament favorite McIlroy came in at +1100 odds, but his putter let him down, and he played the par fives in six over par to finish in a tie for 49th place at five over par. Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas, the top two players in the OWGR, were at +1300 and +1700, respectively, but neither one made the cut.

Jordan Spieth at +1400 was looking to complete the career grand slam but never really got into contention, despite a third-round 68 and finished in a tie for 30th place at two-over-par. Beleaguered Rickie Fowler showed some promise after a final round 71 left him in a tie for eighth at one under par, despite making a bogey on the 72nd hole.

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