At age 50, Phil Mickelson is once again a champion.
The celebrated golfer became the oldest player to win a major, holding off Louis Oosthuizen and Brooks Koepka for a 2-stroke PGA Championship victory. The man affectionately known as Lefty took home $2.16 million for his performance, part of a record $12 million total purse for the tournament.
Mickelson is among the most storied golfers in the game, with 45 PGA Tour wins, six major titles, and $94.6 million in career winnings — second only to Tiger Woods’ $120.8 million total. His last major tournament win came in 2013 at the British Open.
The victory could bring a fresh wave of energy to Mickelson’s brand. Hideki Matsuyama saw estimates of up to $1 billion for what he could earn in endorsements after his win at the Masters in April.
Mickelson is close to actually realizing that sum: Forbes estimated in 2020 that the golfer has made $750 million in endorsements. His sponsors include Amgen, Callaway Golf, Heineken N.V., and Rolex. He added Amstel Light and hat company Melin to the list in 2020.
The buzz from one of the world’s most famous golfers pulling off a surprise victory could boost the PGA’s efforts to diversify the sport through its Make Golf Your Thing campaign.
As an outdoor sport with easy social distancing, interest in golf surged during the pandemic. The National Golf Foundation counted 24.8 million golfers in 2020, a 2% increase from the previous year and the sport’s biggest net growth in 17 years.