PGA Championship 2021: Phil Mickelson could join exclusive list of 13 golfers to win six major championships


Only 13 golfers in the history of of the sport have won six or more major championships, but Phil Mickelson has a chance to change that number at the PGA Championship at the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island this weekend. Mickelson shot 70-69 in his first two rounds at the PGA Championship to take a solo lead at the time he finished up on Friday. It’s the first time in 22 years somebody age 50 or older has been in the top five going into the weekend at a PGA Championship.

While there is a long (long!) way to go, Mickelson is staring at some very specific history. First, he would become the oldest major winner by two years. He would also graduate from the group of 19 golfers who have won five or more majors into the group of 13 golfers who have won six or more, and he would join some interesting company.

Mickelson famously lacks a U.S. Open to his resume, but his three Masters, one Open and one PGA have him in the same conversation as Seve Ballesteros and Byron Nelson. One more, though, and he joins Nick Faldo, who actually playfully taunted him about this very thing when Mickelson joined the CBS Sports booth for a bit during the weekend at last year’s PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park.

“When you look at Bryson, you’re like ‘Wow, that man hits bombs,'” Mickelson said to Faldo and Jim Nantz. “You know he hits bombs, and he does, but then, I thought the same when I first saw you Nick. You’re big, strong, and that was like the furthest thing that happened.”

Faldo had a pretty great response to the dig at his lack of length.

“When you’ve won seven majors, you can rip me as much as you like,” replied Faldo. And now he’ll call the action this weekend with Mickelson on the precipice of tying him up! 

Again, a lot can happen over 36 holes, but here’s a look at the list of historic golfers Mickelson is trying to join — starting at the top with Jack Nicklaus and Lefty’s contemporary, Tiger Woods.

Jack Nicklaus

6

4

3

5

18

Tiger Woods

5

3

3

4

15

Walter Hagen

0

2

4

5

11

Ben Hogan

2

4

1

2

9

Gary Player

3

1

3

2

9

Tom Watson

2

1

5

0

8

Harry Vardon

0

1

6

0

7

Bobby Jones

0

4

3

0

7

Gene Sarazen

1

2

1

3

7

Sam Snead

3

0

1

3

7

Arnold Palmer

4

1

2

0

7

Lee Trevino

0

2

2

2

6

Nick Faldo

3

0

3

0

6

Mickelson has yet to really address the idea of winning a sixth major championship, although if he’s in the same position on Saturday evening, he’ll likely have to. Instead, he’s more focused on enjoying the week, staying in his lane and trying to somehow (improbably!) get to Sunday with a real chance at No. 6.

“I’m having a lot of fun,” said Mickelson. “To play well, to know I’m playing well heading into the weekend, to be in contention, to have a good opportunity, I’m having a blast. I’m excited for the weekend. This has been a lot of fun.”





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