The 48-year old Phil Mickelson showed up for the Desert Classic a little “rusty” in his own words. That rustiness sure faded quickly, as Mickelson opened with a first round -12, 60. Mickelson lead wire to wire for the first three rounds, until falling short on Sunday to Adam Long, who secured the win with an 18thhole birdie. Mickelson amassed a great score of -25 for the week, which put him in a 2ndplace tie with Adam Hadwin. Still, for the aging Mickelson, that 2ndplace finish shows a little sting.
At this point in his career, Phil is not getting any younger, and that winning window of opportunity is becoming smaller and smaller. We all know that Phil will continue to play on the PGA Tour until he fully believes that he can no longer compete with the young guns, but falling just short of adding another win to his resume, at this point in his career, has to hurt a little more. Phil will go down as one of the Top 20 greatest golfers of all time (and probably even better than that), but with his age and the current talent level of the PGA Tour, you never know when that next win is going to come or when each win will be your last.
Mickelson broke through a 5-year drought in 2018 to win in Mexico at the WGC-Mexico Championship. Phil still seems to have all the tools sharp in his arsenal to go out and compete on a weekly basis. At this point in his career he is still driving the ball with power, his putting has improved greatly since going to the claw, and though his recent short game numbers aren’t great, we all know that he can depend on that from time to time to bail him out.
But with the talent in today’s game, is that enough to keep Lefty competing for wins?
I’ve been a long time Phil fan and would love to see him get a couple more wins to finish out one of the great careers in PGA Tour history. The chance of being so close on Sunday this past weekend and not getting the job done has to sting just a little more at this point in his career. He hit 17/18 greens in the final round, but just couldn’t get his putter to work. I don’t think this will set Phil back at all mentally, but hopefully give him a boost into a long season of great golf.