At 38 years old, Phil Mickelson is running out of time to move into the class of elite all-time golfers. He has won the Masters twice and the PGA Championship.
Three majors over the course of a career is an outstanding accomplishment by anyone’s standards, but not for Phil Mickelson.
More was and still is expected from Mickelson.
Before Tiger Woods burst onto the scene in 1996, Phil Mickelson was the most highly touted player to enter the PGA Tour in a very long time.
Mickelson’s amateur accomplishments rank right up there with Tiger Woods. Mickelson won three individual NCAA Championships and is still the last amateur to have won a PGA Tour event when he won the 1991 Northern Telecom Open while still attending Arizona State University.
Mickelson has had a career that is without question worthy of the pro golf Hall of Fame. He has 41 professional wins which places him 13th on the all-time wins list, a position he will surely improve upon before the end of his career.
But, at the age of 38, Mickelson is quickly running out of opportunities to improve his position in the game’s history and move into that top tier of all-time great golfers.
Mickelson could move within the top ten in all-time professional career wins, he could become a Ryder Cup hero, he could pull of miraculous shot after miraculous shot and cement his place as a true Houdini around the greens, but, until he wins a few more majors, most notably a US or British Open, Mickelson will always be just one step behind the likes of Nicklaus, Palmer, Player, Hagan, Hogan, Watson and Woods.
You see, golfing greatness is measured almost solely by the number of major victories a player accumulates over the course of his career; a feat that has seemed just out of Mickelson’s grasp for most of his career.
Mickelson is by no means oblivious to the task at hand; in fact, Mickelson has begun to concentrate more on the majors over the past few years than arguably anyone else on the PGA Tour.
Mickelson frequently visits the major championship sites long before the events, meticulously examining every angle and every possible shot the courses may require of him along with his swing coach Butch Harmon and short game guru Dave Peltz.
This strategy has thus far been unsuccessful for Mickelson, but shows Mickelson’s clear determination to be more prepared than anyone else in the hopes of improving upon his three major victories.
Will Mickelson win another major before the end of his career?
It is probable.
But, one major will not be enough to place Mickelson in that list of truly elite all-time great golfers.
Mickelson will likely have to win at least three more majors, one of which being either the US Open or British Open to cement his place on that top tier of all-time greats, a task that is getting considerably more difficult as each major passes him by and as he approaches forty years old.
Mickelson seems to be really pressing himself at the majors; putting himself under extreme pressure to win, which could be playing a factor in his poor performance at the majors as of late.
But if Mickelson is really pushing himself at the majors it is only because he is a student of the game’s history and knows that his window of opportunity to move into that class of elite golfers is quickly closing in on him.
Other than Tiger Woods, Mickelson is probably the most talented player of his generation. But as we all know, talent does not solely equate to greatness, you must also perform in the most important situations, which is a quality that has thus far eluded Mickelson for most of his career.
Mickelson is about three major wins away from golfing immortality, and it is quickly become a race against the clock for Mickelson to achieve his dream of being classed as one of the greatest golfers to ever play the game.
For the rest of Mickelson’s career, to be considered one of the greatest players to ever pick up a golf club, it’s win three and your in!