As Phil Mickelson became the oldest major winner of all time on Sunday, a number of other athletes who have achieved success in the later stages of their careers paid tribute.
Mickelson claimed the US PGA Championship at the age of 50 and one of the first to offer their congratulations was his old rival Tiger Woods. “Truly inspirational to see @PhilMickelson do it again at 50 years of age. Congrats!!!!!!!,” wrote Woods on Twitter. Woods won the 2019 Masters at the age of 43 but a serious car crash earlier this year has cast doubt on whether he will ever play professional golf again. “Thank you. I’m pulling for your quick return,” wrote Mickelson in reply to Woods’s tweet.
Jack Nicklaus is still the oldest Masters champion of all time: he won the title at Augusta in 1986 shortly after he had turned 46. Nicklaus mentioned that mark in a video message to Mickelson on Twitter. “Fantastic golf this week at Kiawah,” said Nicklaus. “You played great, didn’t make any dumb mistakes, which is the whole key to winning a major championship. You played the golf course, as dangerous as it is, very, very well … And, you know, something that strikes me: 50-years-old is older than 46.”
Away from golf, perhaps the most famous athlete in America, Tom Brady, was watching Mickelson’s final round on Sunday. Brady already held the title of oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl, a record he broke in 2019, when he steered the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory in February at the age of 43. As Mickelson holed out from sand on the fifth hole on Sunday, Brady tweeted “That’s my quarterback!!!”.
Finally, there was praise from last year’s US PGA champion, Collin Morikawa, who was 23 when he claimed the title. “Age is just a number, congrats @PhilMickelson. Amazing to see and very motivating for the future…can’t wait for 2047,” he wrote on Twitter.