It was a long time coming for Phil Mickelson. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer had not won on the PGA Tour in four and a half years, or 101 tournaments, not since that scintillating victory in the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield.
The drought ended on Sunday in Mexico City. The old man beat the flashy new kid—Justin Thomas—on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
It came after Thomas, the hottest golfer on the planet, jarred his approach shot on the final hole for an eagle, completing a 62-64 weekend. Mickelson was still on the course, and played with grit all the way to the clubhouse to tie Thomas at 16-under 268. It included sinking a nervy 3-foot par putt on the final green. Then Lefty signed his scorecard and headed out to the par-3 17th to play the extra hole that would put the finishing touches on win No. 43 on the PGA Tour.
This long-awaited win—Mickelson’s third World Golf Championship title—was especially sweet, perhaps one of the sweetest of all.
“It has been a tough go the last four years,” Mickelson told Golf Channel’s Steve Sands. “Not playing my best, but having the belief that I was going to get there and finally break through and to do it feels incredible. I believe that more is to come. I feel like I am starting to play some of my best golf and to culminate here in Mexico City with a World Golf Championship victory is exciting to me beyond words because it just validates the hard work that I’ve put in and the struggles for the last few years to finally get my game back.”
The champion also tipped his cap to his young adversary, who has been dominating the tour in recent months, including a win at last week’s Honda Classic.
“It is beyond belief and if you look at what Justin Thomas did this weekend, shooting 16-under on this golf course over two days, just incredible golf,” Mickelson said. “Trying to compete against these guys I know and respect and admire how great these young players are, and yet I welcome and cherish the opportunity to compete against them. And to have a little taste of success this year is really encouraging.”
With the win, Lefty jumped to No. 18 in the Official World Golf Ranking and No. 11 in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings. The top eight players earn automatic spots on the 12-member U.S. team.
As PGATOUR.COM reported, Phil’s short game propelled him to victory at the Chapultepec Golf Club, where he put together rounds of 69, 68, 65 and 66.
“Mickelson ranked second in scrambling (81.82 percent), converting all but four of his 22 up-and-down opportunities,” said the tour site. “[He] also ranked third in Strokes Gained: Putting (plus-1.850) while using the same Odyssey Versa #9 White/Black/White putter he had in the bag for his 2013 Open Championship win.”
Phil Mickelson’s Clubs
(As reported by PGATOUR.COM)
Mickelson is a Callaway man. Here’s a look inside his winning bag at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
Driver: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (9 degrees) with Project X HZRDUS T1100 shaft
3-Wood: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (13.5 degrees) with Mitsubishi Fubuki J shaft
Hybrid: Callaway Rogue (19 degrees) with KBS Hybrid shaft
Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind (56, 60 and 64 degrees) with KBS Tour V 125 shafts
Putter: Odyssey Versa #9 White
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X