Oldest major winners in golf: Phil Mickelson makes history at 2021 PGA Championship
Phil Mickelson made history on Sunday.
Lefty added a sixth major victory to his career at the 2021 PGA Championship, making him golf’s oldest major winner in history.
Mickelson had an up-and-down final round at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, S.C., trading the lead with partner Brooks Koepka for a good part of the front nine. But he overcame his six bogeys with five birdies, holding off Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen (4 under) for a two-stroke lead. Not even bogeys on Holes 13, 14 and 17 were enough to cost Mickelson the historic victory.
MORE: Mickelson’s majors timeline: Last major win, PGA Championship history and more
Here’s everything you need to know about Mickelson’s win, and where it places him in golf history:
According to Golf Compendium (prior to Sunday’s final), 28 golfers aged 40 or older have won a major a total of 38 times: The first recorded player was Old Tom Morris, who won the 1861 British Open at the age of 40. He also has the most such major victories (four), winning The Open Championship in 1861-62, ’64 and ’67. The most recent 40-plus-year-old golfer to win a major event (prior to Mickelson’s victory on Sunday) was Tiger Woods, who was 43 years, 3 months and 16 days old the day he won the 2019 Masters.
With Mickelson’s win, those totals moved to 29 golfers with 39 major tournament victories.
Interestingly, this is not the first time Mickelson has won a major event past the age of 40: He won the 2013 Open Championship at 43 years, 1 month and 6 days old. That left him just shy of the top 10 oldest golfers to win a major. He made up for it with a win at the 2021 PGA Championship, breaking the old record, held by Julius Boros, by a significant margin.
Before we list the top 10 oldest major winners in golf history, there are a few honorable mentions worth noting: Tom Watson, who led much of the final round at the 2009 British Open, would have been the oldest golfer to win a major by far: He was 59 years old at the time, but lost in a four-hole playoff to Stewart Cink. Raymond Floyd, 49, was runner-up at the 1992 Masters; Harry Vardon, 50, finished second in the 1920 U.S. Open.
As of the final day of play for the 2021 PGA Championship (May 23, 2021), Mickelson is 50 years, 11 months and 8 days old — just shy of his 51st birthday on June 16. With his victory at the PGA Championship, he beat Boros’ record by roughly two years and seven months.
Mickelson has six major championships to his name, winning all but the U.S. Open (where he has finished second or tied for second six times, most recently in 2013). Mickelson’s last major victory was in the 2013 Open Championship.
Below are each of Mickelson’s major victories, the year they happened and his age at the time of each win:
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