Mickelson defeats father time with PGA win

·3-min read

In the end the greatest threat to Phil Mickelson becoming golfs oldest major champion was the throng of delirious fans who mobbed him before it was over.

For decades Mickelson - the modern-day Arnold Palmer - has commanded big crowds, thrilling them by almost always taking the risk when reward was on offer.

He'd dazzle them with short game skills that are arguably the best the sport has seen and surprised them at many turns.

But becoming a major champion at 50, it just didn't seem possible.

So as history awaited him on the 18th green at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course after a brilliant approach shot from the rough, the fans couldn't contain themselves and the rope lines and volunteers couldn't contain them.

They screamed his name and patted him anywhere they could reach.

From teens to grandparents alike it was a swarm of humanity perhaps releasing the emotion of the moment and of the last year amidst a global pandemic.

Thankfully they didn't crush him before he could knock in the par to secure the history making two-shot win over Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen.

"It's an incredible experience. I've never had something like that. It was a little bit unnerving but it was exceptionally awesome, too," Mickelson said.

It is the sixth major of Mickelson's career but first since winning the British Open in 2013.

By claiming his second PGA Championship 16 years after his first, Mickelson breaks the record held by 1968 PGA Championship winner Julius Boros (48) as the game's oldest major champion.

"I mean, this is just an incredible feeling because I just believed that it was possible, but yet everything was saying it wasn't," Mickelson said.

"It's very possible that this is the last tournament I ever win... if I'm being realistic.

"But it's also very possible that I may have had a little bit of a breakthrough in some of my focus and maybe I go on a little bit of a run.

"The point is that there's no reason why I or anybody else can't do it at a later age.

"It just takes a little bit more work."

Mickelson started the final round with a one-shot lead at the windswept course, made three early bogeys, offset them with three stunning birdies including a hole-out on the fifth from the greenside sandy waste area.

He was five clear with six holes to play but induced some nerves with bogeys on the 13th and 14th holes.

A birdie on 16 but bogey on 17 meant he went to the 18th tee leading by two before his brilliant approach to 16-feet from the left rough sealed the deal.

Four-time major winner Koepka (74) and Oosthuizen (73) shared second at four-under.

Koepka birdied the first hole to lead outright but double-bogeyed the second to give it up.

Back-to-back bogeys on 10 and 11 and another at 13 curtailed his hopes.

Oosthuizen won the 2010 Open title 3,962 days ago.

It remains his only major win and he now has five runner ups in golfs biggest tournaments.

Jason Scrivener was the leading Australian at one-over for the week, T23 in just his second major.

Matt Jones (+2, T30), Jason Day (+4, T44), Cameron Smith (+7, T59), Cameron Davis (+7, T59) and Lucas Herbert (+9, T71) rounded out the Down Under interest.