The secrets of Phil Mickelson’s USPGA Championship success
Still Phil Mickelson refused to bow to Father Time, flying through the night to be with wife Amy and responding to messages as his private jet traversed the time zones. Goodness knows from where Mickelson summoned the energy after Sunday’s historic win in the US PGA Championship. The Californian, who turns 51 next month, became the oldest player ever to win a major, breaking a record which had stood for 53 years. Golf has christened it “The Awe on the Shore” and even Tiger Woods, a man with whom Mickelson has enjoyed a famously frosty relationship, described the achievement as “truly inspirational”. Yet how did he do it? How did a man who had gone 18 straight starts without a top 20 tame such a brutal course, a course which sent world No 1 Dustin Johnson packing within two days? How did a player diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 2010 keep his hands steady and his body loose for four straight days? How did a golfer who already had five major keep his motivation levels up? The game Mickelson announced that he “hit bombs” at The Ocean Course and indeed, his form off the tee played a huge role in his first major victory in eight years. The two-wood he employed gave him the control with which he has been finessing with Andrew Getson, who he’s been working with since 2014, over the last few years. Getson, a former Tour player, does not have the profile of Butch Harmon, Mickelson’s former coach, but he is similar in that he tweaks rather than overhauls. Getson has been careful not to interfere with the Mickelson “magic” around the greens. His holed bunker shot on the fifth during the final round was the image of the day. Interestingly, Mickelson switched his putting grip on the 17th, to employ “the claw”. It gave him more stability, the attribute he has long craved. The body Mickelson has become quasi-evangelical about physical and mental health in the autumn of his career. He has lost a significant amount of weight since his heyday in the early-to mid-2000s, when he cut a portly figure, and now looks pretty buff. Famously, he was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 2010, but blessedly the medication worked. But it sparked a dedication to his intake and as the results began to tail off in the second half of the last decade, Mickelson underwent a “hard reset”, creating his own six-day ‘Coffee For Wellness’ diet with performance coach Dave Phillips. The diet involves consuming only water and a special coffee blend that includes Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee, almond milk, cinnamon and coconut MCT oil. He has also, apparently, cut out most meats and is fastidious about what he goes into his body.