By Alex Myers
With Phil Mickelson approaching his 50th birthday in June, some might say he’s getting a bit long in the tooth. But the five-time major champ insists it’s his length off the tee that still makes him a threat on the PGA Tour. To the point that he hasn’t given much thought about transitioning to the senior circuit yet.
Mickelson will kick off his 2020 at the American Express this week, but before the PGA Tour’s annual Palm Springs event started, he was asked about potentially starting his PGA Tour Champions career later in the year. Here was his ‘phantastic’ answer.
“When I stop hitting bombs I’ll play the Champions Tour,” Mickelson said. “But I’m hitting some crazy bombs right now.”
You can’t script “Phil being Phil” any better than that.
Of course, there was more. Here’s the rest of Mickelson’s response:
“No, I still have speed, I still, there’s no reason I couldn’t play out here. I hit the ball every bit as far. Usually as guys get in their 40s they regress, I had a five, six-mile an hour clubhead speed increase last year. A little bit of commitment in the gym, a little bit of work ethic and all of a sudden there’s no reason that physically I can’t do today what I did 15, 20 years ago, in fact I’m doing more.”
“So the realisation about what the game of golf means to me and how competitive I am and how much I thrive on that challenge has hit me and it’s led to a greater work ethic, a greater commitment to physical health and well being and a greater quality of life. But I also enjoy this challenge. So I’m curious to see how the first six months go. And then I’ll start to weigh some decisions. But there’s a chance that if I do what I expect then I may end up competing for years out here. And there’s a chance that maybe I am misguided in my thinking and that I should move over. But a lot will be decided or seen in the first six months, because I feel like I’m ready to play.”
OK, so we’ll have to see what these first six months bring, but it sure doesn’t sound like Mickelson plans on playing in the U.S. Senior Open, which is scheduled the week after he turns 50 at the regular U.S. Open.
Mickelson’s confidence certainly isn’t a surprise considering he nearly won in Palm Springs last year and picked up a 44th career PGA Tour title at Pebble Beach the following month. But he struggled the rest of 2019, falling out of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in 26 years and failing to make his first U.S. team since 1993.
Still, to his main point, the suddenly fitness-focused Mickelson can still move the golf ball. Granted, he’s only played four events in the 2019-2020 season, but he’s averaging a career-best 307.2 yards off the tee so far. Expect to see some “crazy bombs” in the desert this week.