The man tasked with keeping Phil Mickelson in check as the pressure mounted on a major championship Sunday has worked with him for years.
On Sunday, Tim Mickelson caddied for his brother Phil during his record-breaking PGA Championship victory, which made Mickelson the oldest major winner in golf history.
While Tim was the only one on the course who had direct contact with Mickelson, their mother was trying to give “Philip” some advice from afar.
“Text Philip and tell him just to par in,” Mary Mickelson texted to his sister Tina, she revealed on Twitter. “Don’t hit bombs or activate calves. Just par. They will have to catch him. He won’t listen to his mother so you text him. Hurry.”
It’s unclear whether Mary’s message made it through — Tina did say she’d text Tim because “he’s the only one Phil is listening to today” — but the Mickelsons crossed the finish line and into history thanks to Phil, Tim, Mary, and Tina.
Mickelson had previously won five majors with long-time caddie Jim Mackay, but having his brother on the bag made it even more special, as the two shared an emotional embrace after the 50-year-old tapped in the winning putt.
And having someone with you who knows you so well is part of what makes Tim “a great caddie,” as Mickelson put it during Sunday’s crucial final round.
“As I’m walking off 6, I had made some uncommitted swings the first six holes,” Mickelson told the media after his victory. “I had been striking the ball awesome the first three days.
“I had a wonderful warm up session, like I was ready to go and I made some uncommitted swings the first six holes. He pulled me aside and said: ‘If you’re going to win this thing, you’re going to have to make committed golf swings.’
“It hit me in the head, I can’t make passive — I can’t control the outcome, I have to swing committed. The first one I made was the drive on 7. Good drive on 7 gave me a chance to get down by the green and make birdie. From there on, I hit a lot of really good shots because I was committed to each one.”
Mickelson is one of the most famous and well-liked figures in modern golf, having won six major championships and 45 PGA Tour titles.
Mickelson won his second PGA Championship, 16 years after his first, by finishing two shots ahead of Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course. Mickelson is known as “Lefty” for his left-handed playstyle.
Mickelson, who won at the age of 50, broke Julius Boros’ record as the oldest major winner, which he set in 1968 when he won the PGA Championship at the age of 48.
However, one trophy has eluded him throughout his long and illustrious career: the US Open.
He’s finished second on multiple occasions while winning the other three majors.
With the 2021 US Open approaching in June at Torrey Pines, Mickelson sees no better time than now to try to break his career grand slam, which entails winning all four major tournaments during a player’s career.
“I do believe that, if I stay sharp mentally, I can play well at Torrey Pines,” Mickelson said.
“I know I’m playing well and this could very well be my last really good opportunity to win a US Open, so I’m going to put everything I have into it.”
Mickelson needs to win the US Open to join Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Gene Sarazen, and Ben Hogan as the only golfers to win all four major championships in their careers.
On the eve of the major in California, he will turn 51, and he understands that his historic victory in South Carolina may be his last.
“So it’s very possible that this is the last tournament I ever win,” he said. “Like if I’m being realistic.
“But it’s also very possible that I may have had a little bit of a breakthrough in some of my focus and maybe I go on a little bit of a run, I don’t know. But the point is that there’s no reason why I or anybody else can’t do it at a later age. It just takes a little bit more work.”
Mickelson attributes his recent resurgence in part to a more focused diet and the use of meditation to calm his mind.
But, despite the fact that a round of golf now consumes more energy than before, he believes that with proper preparation and work ethic, he can continue to compete at the highest level.
“But if I work a little harder, spend a little more time in the gym, eat well, practice hard, there’s no reason why I can’t put it all out there for 18 holes,” Mickelson said.
“There’s no reason why you can’t accomplish your goals at an older age. It’s just going to take more effort. If you put in the work, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.”