Stars out for 'Phil the Thrill': golf talking points

·4-min read

Phil Mickelson's astonishing US PGA Championship win at the record age of 50 dominates AFP Sport's golf talking points this week:

- 'Life is good' -

Mickelson claimed a unique place in golf folklore with his sixth major at Kiawah Island, becoming the oldest major champion in history.

The scale of his achievement was reflected in the plaudits received from the rest of the sporting world.

From record-setting quarterback Tom Brady to NBA great Steph Curry, social media exploded in praise and awe of "Phil the Thrill's" achievement.

"That's my quarterback!!! LFG @PhilMickelson!!" tweeted seven-time Super Bowl winner Brady, 43.

"Truly inspirational to see @PhilMickelson do it again at 50 years of age. Congrats!!!!!!!" posted the 45-year-old Tiger Woods, who is recovering from car crash injuries.

"Thank you. I'm pulling for your quick return," replied Mickelson.

NBA scoring machine Curry, 33, said in an Instagram video: "It's cool to be the old guy sometimes, man. Congratulations."

An adrenalin-fuelled Mickelson was keeping himself busy in the hours after his famous victory, replying personally to almost every tweet, often with a delicious tongue-in-cheek put down.

He had the last word when someone asked a few hours after his win if he was on a plane home to California yet.

"Yes," said Mickelson. "Sipping wine, half lit, tweeting. Life is good."

- Veterans' week -

While Mickelson was gaining all the headlines, another multiple major champion just a year his junior was also quietly defying his age.

European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington, 49, finished tied fourth, just four shots back from Mickelson.

But the jovial Irishman was quick to rule out becoming playing captain at Whistling Straits later this year when his side lock horns with Team USA.

"I'm well past that time," said Harrington, who won the US PGA Championship in 2008, sandwiched by back-to-back Claret Jugs for winning the Open in 2007 and 2008.

"I'm very much dedicated to being the captain. It's a full-time job. I'm letting other people have their time. I had mine."

- Emotional ties -

It was a family celebration on Sunday for Mickelson, who had brother Tim on his bag. But not many will be aware of just what Tim gave up to help his older, more famous sibling.

At the start of 2017, when Phil split with long-term caddie Jim "Bones" Mackay, he called his brother to ask him to fill in.

Tim, no mean amateur player himself, was at the time forging a career as a golf agent, and his most promising client was a talented young Spaniard by the name of Jon Rahm.

It left Tim, who is seven years younger than Phil, in a dilemma.

Life as an agent -- especially to someone destined for greatness such as Rahm -- was always going to be more cushy than dragging a heavy golf bag around the fairways of the world. Tim chose the latter.

"The biggest thing is family," Tim said at the time. "And I thought it would be neat to spend more time with my brother."

Four-and-a-half years later, Tim's life-changing decision has been rewarded, and how.

"This is obviously awesome," Tim said. "His will and desire to win now is as high as it's ever been.

"I definitely teared up for the first time since caddying for him."

- World rankings -

Latest top 10s, updated May 24, 2021 after the US PGA Championship:

Men

1. Dustin Johnson (USA) 10.16

2. Justin Thomas (USA) 8.61

3. Jon Rahm (ESP) 8.36

4. Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 6.94 (+1)

5. Collin Morikawa (USA) 6.93 (+1)

6. Xander Schauffele (USA) 6.92 (-2)

7. Brooks Koepka (USA) 6.15 (+6)

8. Patrick Reed (USA) 6.07

9. Rory McIlroy (NIR) 5.98 (-2)

10. Tyrrell Hatton (ENG) 5.78 (-1)

Selected:

32. Phil Mickelson (USA) 3.35 (+83)

141. Padraig Harrington (IRL) 1.10 (+116)

Women

1. Ko Jin-young (KOR) 9.73

2. Park In-bee (KOR) 8.77

3. Kim Sei-young (KOR) 8.05

4. Nelly Korda (USA) 7.60

5. Brooke Henderson (CAN) 6.29

6. Danielle Kang (USA) 6.02

7. Kim Hyo-joo (KOR) 5.71

8. Lydia Ko (NZL) 5.49

9. Lexi Thompson (USA) 5.17

10. Patty Tavatanakit (THA) 4.64

dh/th

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