Phil Mickelson is now the wrong side of 50, which means that Lefty’s days on the main PGA Tour could be numbered. Although he is one of an illustrious group of 12 golfers in the history of the sport to win three of the four majors, Mickelson has admitted that he may opt to enter more competitions on the PGA Tour Champions schedule if he continues to struggle to tread water with his younger counterparts.
Despite having previously said that he was not a fan of PGA Tour Champions golf, virtually sneering at the prospect of playing on the senior circuit, Lefty may just have got the taste for senior golf in the last 12 months. Two victories at the Charles Schwab Series and the Dominion Energy Charity Classic on the Champions Tour have led to Mickelson re-evaluating his time left on the course.
Mickelson more realistic about his future in the PGA Tour Champions series
At the turn of the New Year, Mickelson said that he was “excited to start the year” and still had the buzz to carry on “playing at the highest level”. In fact, Lefty confirmed his intentions to “make a push” for inclusion in America’s next Ryder Cup team. However, Mickelson was honest enough to admit that he would “re-evaluate things” if he doesn’t “play well early on” in the season. He admitted that playing “more events on the Champions Tour” was a possibility as he finds “competing” to try and “win tournaments” most fun.
Mickelson intimated that he was warming to the prospect of becoming more of a regular feature on the Champions Tour, adding that he enjoyed the ability to “compete” and face-off against players he’s “known for 30-plus years” on the circuit. He also added that Champions Tour courses are “not built to beat you up” in the same way that many other courses try to achieve on the PGA Tour.
Although Mickelson has an exemption to enter The Masters for the rest of his playing days, as well as the Open Championship and PGA Championship until the age of 60, he freely admits he won’t be able to keep up with the younger upstarts on the PGA Tour for too much longer. The sportsbooks certainly give Lefty less of a chance to lift another major in the next 12 months if his odds are anything to go by. FOX Bet, which recently launched its licensed sports betting in three US states (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Colorado) and soon to be in Michigan, has priced Mickelson as high as +10000 to win the 2021 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s.
Even a career-first proved Lefty’s undoing at La Quinta
There is no better sign of how hard Lefty is having to work just to get a foothold in PGA Tour events than his recent performance at The American Express in La Quinta, California. He parred every single hole in his second round of the tournament, which was the first time he had done so in his illustrious career. It was a statement of his consistency, but the reality was that he still finished two over par for the tournament, which wasn’t enough to help him make the cut.
At the other end of the spectrum, Mickelson’s Champions Tour experiences have seen him much further up the pecking order. He’s enjoyed the fact that his bombs off the tee were getting bigger and better yardage than any other player on the Champions Tour, which helped him to win both the tournaments he entered at the Ozark National last year.
A big part of Mickelson’s career has been his competitive spirit. His tigerish attitude has kept him at the top end of the sport for over 30 years now. In fact, it was the 30-year anniversary of his first title on the PGA Tour in January. There comes a time in any sportsman’s professional career that their body simply cannot maintain the game’s rigorous demands. All too often Lefty’s mind and body has given up on him in the latter stages of recent PGA Tour seasons. It’s one of the main reasons why he fasted to lose 15 pounds and improve his play. Some time on the Champions Tour could be just what he needs to get back to winning ways before he retires for good.