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Oldest major winners in golf: Phil Mickelson poised to make history at PGA Championship


Phil Mickelson has a shot at history on Sunday.

The five-time major tournament winner will look to add a sixth major victory to his career at the 2021 PGA Championship, becoming golf’s oldest major winner in history in the process.

Mickelson and Louis Oosthuizen were the co-leaders at 5 under heading into moving day. For a time, it looked as if Mickelson would win in a runaway after scoring five birdies through the first 10 holes. But a bogey and double bogey on Holes 12 and 13, respectively, brought him back to 2 under for the round, 7 under for the tournament and, most importantly, within striking distance of Brooks Koepka (6 under) and Oosthuizen (5 under).

It’s up to Mickelson to hold off his challengers, but the crowd will cheer harder for no one at Kiawah Island on Sunday.

MORE: PGA Championship live streams: How to watch live golf coverage online in 2021

Here’s everything you need to know about Mickelson’s chance at history heading into play on Sunday:

Oldest golfers to win a major

According to Golf Compendium, 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 was Tiger Woods, who was 43 years, 3 months, 16 days the day he won the 2019 Masters.

Mickelson is also among those golfers, having won the 2013 Open Championship at 43 years, 1 month, 6 days old — leaving him just months shy of the top 10 oldest golfers to win a major. If he wins the 2021 PGA Championship, he will become the oldest golfer to win a major.

There are a few honorable mentions to include, as well: 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.

Golfer Tournament Age
Julius Boros 1968 PGA Championship 48 years, 4 months, 18 days
Tom Morris Sr. 1867 The Open Championship 46 years, 3 months, 10 days
Jack Nicklaus 1986 Masters Tournament 46 years, 2 months, 23 days
Jerry Barber 1961 PGA Championship 45 years, 3 months, 6 days
Hale Irwin 1990 U.S. Open Championship 45 years, 14 days
Lee Trevino 1984 PGA Championship 44 years, 8 months, 18 days
Robert De Vincenzo 1967 The Open Championship 44 years, 3 months, 1 day
Harry Vardon 1914 The Open Championship 44 years, 1 month, 10 days
Raymond Floyd 1986 U.S. Open Championship 43 years, 9 months, 11 days
Ted Ray 1920 U.S. Open Championship 43 years, 4 months, 16 days

How old is Phil Mickelson?

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. The oldest player to win a major is Julius Boros, who won the 1968 PGA Championship at 48 years, 4 months and 18 days old. Should Mickelson finish first at the 2021 PGA Championship, he will beat Boros’ record by roughly two years and seven months.

How many majors has Phil Mickelson won?

Mickelson has five 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:

Tournament Age
2013 Open Championship 43 years, 1 month, 6 days
2010 Masters Tournament 39 years, 9 months, 27 days
2006 Masters Tournament 35 years, 9 months, 25 days
2005 PGA Championship 35 years, 1 month, 27 days
2004 Masters Tournament 33 years, 9 months, 27 days


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