The sporting world has provided us with several inspirational stories over the years and it keeps on getting better. From Tiger Woods winning the Masters in 2019 to NFL QB Tom Brady lifting the Super Bowl for the 7th time, several athletes who have been written off have gone on to defy the odds to do something amazing. Another such incredible tale is that of pro golfer Phil Mickelson.
By winning the 2021 edition of the PGA Championships at the age of 50, Phil, popularly known as Lefty, became the oldest player ever to win a golf major. Such a feat, which came after a few years that saw him drop out of the top 100, fetched him accolades from the sporting world and beyond. He also added a winner’s cheque of $2.16 million that cemented his 2nd position on the golf career money list.
Phil Mickelson Won Three NCAA Championships During His Amateur Days in College
Phil Mickelson’s career started with so much great promise. Thanks to a granddad who was a caddy and a dad who was an avid golfer, the young boy picked up the game when he was just a child. He kept at it all throughout high school and did enough to gain a scholarship to attend college.
At Arizona State University, Mickelson, who had mastered a left-handed swing, continued his impressive form. He won not less than three individual NCAA championships as a college player and turned pro immediately after college. This was in the year 1992 and the next decade saw him win several PGA tournaments, including the World Series of Golf 1996, AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am 1998, and the Greater Hartford Open (2001 and 2002). He, however, failed to win a major and so continued pushing as he knew that it was going to cement his status as a great golfer.
His First Major Triumph Came in 2004 after 12 Years of Turning Pro
Like Tennis Grand Slams, golf has four prestigious tournaments, known as majors, that are regarded as the ultimate trophies in the sport. They include the Masters, PGA Championships, Open Championship, and The U.S. Open. For the first 13 years of his professional career, Phil Mickelson was unable to win one.
It became a major issue (pun unintended) as many wondered whether Lefty would get over his “Major Monkey”. The player later broke through by conquering at the 2004 Masters tournament to become a major winner for the first time. The result silenced all the doubts and increased his confidence. He rode that confidence to two more major titles in 2005 (PGA Championship) and 2006 (Masters).
He Won His 6th Major Title at the Age of 50 To Become the Oldest Major Champion in Golf
The remainder of the 2000s decade would continue to be a success for Phil Mickelson’s career but by the 2010s, he experienced a downward spiral. His last major triumph came in 2013 while his last title of any kind was at the 2019 Pebble Beach tournament. The player dropped out of the top 100 in the official world golf ranking for the first time since 1993. He also started needing special exemptions to be able to play in the major championships. All these affected Mickelson’s productivity but he kept on hanging in there. It was therefore a glorious moment was when he was finally able to notch a sixth major title at the 2021 PGA championships.
Held on one of the most challenging courses there is, the Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course, Mickelson fended off strong challenges from the likes of Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen to emerge victorious at the age of 50 years, 11 months, and 7 days. He thus surpassed a record set by a then 48-year old Julius Boros at the 1968 edition of the same tournament to emerge the oldest individual ever to win a golf major. That achievement led to an outpouring of good wishes on social media from fellow golfers including, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. Phil himself remarked that although he believed it was possible, he couldn’t believe that it happened.
- Masters Tournament (2004)
- PGA Championship (2005)
- Masters Tournament (2006)
- Masters Tournament (2010)
- The Open Championship (2013)
- PGA Championship (2021)
Lefty’s legacy continues.
50-year-old @PhilMickelson has won the #PGAChamp
He’s the oldest winner in major championship history. pic.twitter.com/QsPy1kRH3i
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 23, 2021
Phil Mickelson Ranks Second on the PGA Career Money Leaders List
It has certainly been a rollercoaster since Phil Mickelson turned pro in 1992 but he has got much to show for his hard work. The six-time major winner now has a net worth of $400 million which makes him the second richest golfer in the whole world. A good percentage of his net worth comes from his winnings on the PGA Tour. To date, the San Diego native has won not less than 55 professional titles, including 45 on the PGA tour and 11 on the European tour.
These titles usually come with hefty paychecks for the winner. For instance, by winning the 2021 PGA championships, Mickelson received $2.16 million. This increased his total career earnings to $94.61 million which places him second on the PGA money list. Others who make the top ten are:
- Tiger Woods – $120.85 million
- Jim Furyk – $71.49 million
- Dustin Johnson – $71.42 million
- Vijay Singh – $71.23 million
- Rory McIlroy -$56.39 million
- Adam Scott – $56.13 million
- Justine Rose – $55.43 million
- Matt Kuchar – $52.80 million
- Sergio Garcia – $52.76 million
He Has Earned Over Half A Billion Dollars in Endorsement Deals Over the Years
Phil Mickelson also has a juicy endorsement roster and Forbes estimates that he earned $40 million from just endorsement deals from 2019 to 2020. The magazine also estimates that the golfer has made a total of $750 million from sponsorship agreements alone in the course of his career. This means that the major portion of his net worth comes from endorsement deals.
So, who has endorsed Phil Mickelson? The list includes Callaway Golf, KPMG, Workday, Melin, Heineken N.V., Amstel Light, Amgen Rolex, and Intrepid Financial partners. Mickelson also has a relationship with golf clothing company Mizzen+ Main. The relationship stretches back to 2018 and has seen the golfer dancing in a bunch of online clips in order to emphasize that the company’s dress shirt is fluid.
The Golfer Also Co-Owns Several Golf Clubs and Courses
Asides from being a golfing great, Phil Mickelson is also an astute businessman. The six-time major winner has a great collaboration with Steve Loy (the head coach who recruited him to play for the Arizona State University men’s golf team). The duo are the major stakeholders in Mickelson Golf Properties, a collection of private and public golf courses and clubs situated in Arizona. Featuring statuesque pines, stunning desert landscapes, and sublime vistas, the clubs and courses provide enjoyable golf challenges and a unique golf experience to members and guests alike.
Mickelson and his former coach have also invested in a custom yogurt franchise known as Reis & Irvys. Reis & Irvys provides ice cream-making robots which are able to put together different yogurt flavors and toppings while customers watch. Mickelson and Loy signed a deal to open 30 Reis & Irvys stores in San Diego in June 2018 and the golfer stated that he was thrilled to be part of such transformative industry change.
Mickelson was Fined $1 Million For Insider Trading in 2016
Mickelson has also run afoul of the law in the course of his business dealings. Back in 2012, investigations by US securities authorities revealed that the golfer had invested in the stock of a company known as Dean Foods, after becoming privy to some privileged information about the company’s finances and impending spin-off. He subsequently made a profit of about $931,000 on the stock he purchased.
Such a move obviously amounted to the illegal act of insider trading and Mickelson was named as a relief defendant in a civil suit. The SEC later determined that he was not guilty of any criminal charges though. The golfer thus escaped prosecution but was asked to pay back approximately $1 million to the government. He eagerly did so, stating that he had no desire to benefit from a questionable transaction.