Thank you, Phil Mickelson.
You gave the Growing Bolder world a moment to cherish by winning the PGA Championship just a few months shy of 51. You’re now the oldest champion in the books. Well-played, sir. “Defy,” as our dear beloved friend Wendy Chioji would say.
It’s another teachable moment for the universe to see. Physical and emotional limitations are often based on the expectations of others. Do what’s best for you.
Buy a mirror, look into your inner soul, and go crush it.
“I just believed that this was possible but everything was saying it wasn’t,” Mickelson said. “I hope that others find that inspiration. It might take a little extra work, a little harder effort to maintain physically or maintain the skills but, gosh, is it worth it in the end.”
It’s been a good run for the old guard of late. At 43, Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady became the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl. Joe Biden took the presidential oath of office two months after turning 78.
And coming next: The world’s oldest woman Kane Tanaka, 118, will carry the Olympic flame for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Before Phil Mickelson’s victory on Sunday, not a single player has ever won a major championship in their 50s. The previous record was set by 48-year-old Julian Boros, while winning the 1968 PGA Championship.
“Worked harder is the deal,” Mickelson told reporters Sunday night. “I just had to work harder physically to be able to practice as long as I wanted to, and I’ve had to work a lot harder to be able to maintain focus throughout a round. That’s been the biggest challenge of late.
“My desire to play is the same. I’ve never been driven by exterior things. I’ve always been intrinsically motivated because I love to compete. I love playing the game. I love having opportunities to play against the best at the highest level. That’s what drives me, and I think the belief that I could still do it inspired me to work harder. I just didn’t see why it couldn’t be done. It just took a little bit more effort.”
The world has taken notice.
The chaotic mob scene at Ocean Course clubhouse — with thousands of fans chanting his name — spilled over onto social media after the victory.
“Phil! Phil! Phil! Old Guy(s) Rule!” – former Auburn Athletic Director David Housel posted on his Facebook page.
It’s wonderful to see men and women smashing outdated stereotypes with belief, determination and hard work.
“Lefty” is all right.