Phil Mickelson 2005 USPGA Champion

Golfing Legacies: Phil Mickelson

Born in San Diego, California, in 1970, Philip Alfred Mickelson is a professional golfer who was one of the best in the world during the 1990s and early 2000s. He shined especially on the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) Tour during this period.


Taking to golf at a very young age, Mickelson was hitting his first golf balls at age 18. Mirroring his father’s swing, the right-handed Mickelson soon switched to playing left-handed, leading to the nickname, “Lefty.” During these junior years, Mickelson won countless tournaments around San Diego, even winning three consecutive Junior Player of the Year awards in 1986, 1987, and 1988. 


His incredible run of success earned him a full scholarship to Arizona State University. Here, he earned the reputation of being one of the very best amateur golfers in America, not just of that time, but of all time.


1990 saw Mickelson win the U.S. Amateur Championship before winning his maiden PGA Tour event the following year. 


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In 1992, Phil Mickelson joined the PGA Tour. And, it wasn’t long until he won his first professional tournament (1993) at Torrey Pines Golf Course, San Diego. For the next three years, Mickelson won at least one tournament a year, even reaching number 7 in the top 10 golfers in the world during the 1996 PGA season for the first.


Fast-forward to 2001, and Mickelson became the number two player in the world, only behind his rival Tiger Woods. This rivalry was fascinating for golf fans around the world, with Mickelson’s outgoing personality and Wood’s more reserved nature. Their vastly different approaches to the game of golf also divided fans, but, one thing was for certain, Mickelson was considered one of the best players in the world at that time. 


Although very successful, Mickelson had never won a major tournament, such as the U.S. Open, The PGA Championship, or The Masters. His best finish was second during 1999 and 2003. 


Finally, a one stroke win over Ernie Els resulted in Mickelson’s first major victory in 2004 at The Masters. And, only one year later, he enjoyed his second major win, at the 2005 PGA Championship. And, his hot streak continued with a win at the next major, The Masters in 2006.


Mickelson’s legendary status was being sealed.


Four years later, in 2010, Mickelson won his third Green jacket as he became The Master champion again. This placed him with four others with the third-highest career total in The Master’s history. 


Mickelson’s performances were not quite as strong after that 2010 Masters victory, as he won just one tournament a year from 2010 to 2012. But, in 2013, he succeeded in his elusive win at the British Open tournament, making up a five-shot deficit.  


Then, a baron run began before Mickelson won his next PGA Tour event in 2018. In 2019, Mickelson claimed a 45th career PGA Title at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.


Phil Mickelson has also been a part of three winning Ryder Cup teams in 1999, 2008, and 2016. And, although one of the older players on the course at 50 years old, Mickelson won his sixth career major title in 2021 at the PGA Championship. It was his first victory on a tour for over two years. This gave him the title of the oldest player to win a major tournament throughout the long and prestigious history of the PGA.


Phil Mickelson Major Wins – Brief History 

Altogether, Phil Mickelson has six major wins under his belt. Here is a brief history of some highlights from a few of those.

The Masters – 2004 

Although having 22 Tour victories behind him, Mickelson had zero career majors at this point of his career. But, a birdie on the sixteenth hole evened things up with Ernie Els at the 2004 Masters. As Els was on the practice putting green, Mickelson won with an 80 yards putt. Finally, the monkey was off Mickelson’s back and he had won his first major title. 

PGA Championship – 2005 

With a birdie on 18, Mickelson won the 2005 PGA Championship similarly to his first major title. The final round started with a share of the lead, but a few bogeys saw Mickelson surrender his lead. But, one under on each of the final eight holes, and a birdie on the last, resulted in a one-stroke victory for Mickelson. 

The Masters – 2006

Beginning the day with a one shot lead, Lefty didn’t make a bogey until the 18th. By then, he had a four shot lead and had won a second major tournament in a row. At this point, Mickelson was regarded as the best  player in the world, even before Tiger Woods. Quite the accolade. 

In Summary

Phil Mickelson, also known as “Lefty,” is one of the greatest players to have played golf. With 6 major wins, 57 professional wins, and a highest ranking of two in the world, Mickelson continues to play major tournaments and as recently as 2021, won another major tournament.


A true giant of the game.