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Phil Mickelson | PGA Championship

By The Associated Press

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Standing on the 18th tee with a two-shot lead in a championship he refused to imagine himself winning, Phil Mickelson took one last violent swing with a driver — the club that betrayed him 15 years earlier in the U.S. Open.

His tee shot Sunday in the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island landed only a few yards off the fairway, but it still nestled among the people — the gallery packed tightly between the ropes and a row of hospitality tents — screaming the name of their aging hero.

After Mickelson’s approach shot settled on the green, assuring the 50-year-old of becoming the oldest major champion in history, the crowd swallowed him up entirely.

Phil Mickelson, the people’s champion.

“It’s an incredible experience. I’ve never had something like that,” Mickelson said. “It was a little bit unnerving, but it was exceptionally awesome, too.”

Mickelson — happy at home and injury-free — merely stretched the limits of what’s possible after a half-century on Earth.

“There’s no reason why I or anybody else can’t do it at a later age. It just takes a little more work,” Mickelson said.

Nine days earlier, Mickelson accepted a special exemption to play in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in his hometown of San Diego. Now he’s assured at least five more cracks at the lone major that has eluded him. The victory makes him exempt at the U.S. Open through 2025.

Already a Hall of Famer, Mickelson joined Nick Faldo and Lee Trevino as six-time major winners. Only 11 players have won more. If he somehow won another in his 50s, he’d match Arnold Palmer, Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead and Harry Vardon.

Check out “Watts” in Phil’s bag below.

Driver: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond (6 degrees @5.5, green dot cog) – Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X (47.9 inches)

2-wood: TaylorMade “Original One” Mini Driver (11.5 degrees) – Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X

4-wood (Sunday only): Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (16.5 degrees) – Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 8 X

Irons: Callaway X Forged UT (16) (Thursday-Saturday), Callaway X21 UT Proto (19 degrees @20.5, 25), Callaway Apex MB ‘21 (small groove) (6-PW) – Shafts: (16) MCA MMT 105 TX, KBS Tour V 125 S+

Wedges: Callaway PM Grind ’19 “Raw” (52-12@50, 55-12, 60-10) – Shafts: KBS Tour V 125 S+

Putter: Odyssey Milled Blade “Phil Mickelson” – Grip: SuperStroke Pistol GT Tour

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X (Triple Track)

Grips: Golf Pride MCC

Another Wanamaker for @PhilMickelson. 🏆

— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 23, 2021