Mickelson wins the PGA Championship at age 50
Mickelson, with the PGA Championship trophy.Patrick SmithAFP

Phil Mickelson he found the elixir of eternal youth and at the age of 50 became the oldest winner in golf history to win a major. The American finished PGA Championship with a final lap of +1, six strokes under par for the field that gave him this historic triumph with two strokes of advantage over the North American Brooks Koepka and the South African Louis Oosthuizen.

Just a graphic detail that reflects what happened these four days in Kiawah Island this week: hole 16 of the last day, the robust Brooks Koepka The 31-year-old busts the tee ball at par five landing it at 361 yards, one of the tournament’s most powerful drives, Mickelson plays next, the swift, left-handed swing swiftly passes despite nearly 20 years apart with your opponent and the ball bounces past the exit of Koepka, 366 yards is the distance achieved, the longest driver hit all week by any of the 156 players at this hole.

After the huge exit, the birdie on that 16th hole gives him three strokes of advantage with two holes to go, although ahead, one of the most complicated, the par 3 17th hole of 250 yards with a downwind. The starting iron, well aimed, bounces hard and passes the green, resting the ball in uncomfortable tall grass in the rough. Phil Mickelson’s haters lick each other waiting for one of his famous ‘mickelsonadas’, but at this point, the 45 wins (five majors among them) seem like enough experience and Mickelson secures the approach, clearly playing bogey, on his first putt of A pair goes a meter long and a detail that for many went unnoticed, Phil kicks for boggey changing his grip and catching the putt with the pincer style, the only time he has done it in the 72 holes of the tournament all week, mysteries of the mind of the left-handed champion.

The bogey left him with two strokes of advantage and a hole to play; neither Koepka nor Oosthuizen managed to push enough, the strategy was clear; not make mistakes. The crowd went so crazy on the last hole that victory seemed uncontrollable, an impressive human tide invaded the field and recalled mythical scenes from the past with winners as popular as Seve Ballesteros or own Tiger Woods. The nine iron from the rough at 18 is perfect and he lands about five meters from the flag, Phil tries to escape the uncontrolled crowd, a spectator hugs him from behind and Mickelson exits with an uncomfortable gesture of pain, the police and the Volunteers strive to put order in the middle of the disorder.

Covid does not seem to exist in Mickelson’s big sixth. With difficulty, player and caddy make their way through the crowd without a mask, to reach the 18th green, Koepka and his assistant take the same maneuver about five more minutes. Everyone safe on the 18th green, it only remains to certify the triumph and claim that the present is in their fifties.

Rahm’s spectacular comeback

One of the first to hug the new winner is Jon Rahm. Phil is a kind of mentor for the Spaniard. He followed in his footsteps and successes at Arizona State University under the tutelage of Tim Mickelson, Phil’s coach and brother, now carrying the bag for him. Tim was also Jon’s first manager when he jumped to professionalism, this adventure would not last long since Phil signed him as a caddy. Hours before, Jon attended to the media with another spirit, apologizing for Saturday’s statements and positively evaluating his round of -4, which made him climb 30 positions to finish eighth tied just five strokes behind the winner. Misleading result that never gave him a choice of victory. But its ability to make a difference in any circumstance is amazing. In the two majors played this year Jon has been fifth in the Augusta Masters and eighth in the PGA Championship, without playing well in either of the two commitments, if there is one thing he is clear about, it is that on the golf course he will never go down. arms. In less than a month another new opportunity, with the US Open in Torrey Pines, one of his talisman fields.

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