We have already seen two left-handed players make this list, but the third is the most famous of them all. Phil Mickelson has 49 career wins to his name, including three here at Augusta and five major titles in total, so he will no doubt be a name on everyone’s lips once again.
After an almost five-year drought, Mickelson picked up his first win since the 2013 Open Championship, winning the WGC – Mexico Championship earlier this month. At 47 years of age, Mickelson became the oldest winner of a WGC event.
T46 (LA), T34, T7, 3, MC, T12, T6, T7, 3, 3, 3, 1, 10, 1, T24, T5, 5, 1, T27, T3, T54, MC, T2, MC, T22
In 25 starts at Augusta, Mickelson has as many wins as he does missed cuts (3) and has also finished inside the top-10 a further 12 times (including 9 top-5’s) an incredible run of form.
He clearly loves this event and whilst he hasn’t won here since 2010, he has finished inside the top-3 on two more occasions. Two of his three missed cuts here have indeed also come in that span though, so it is difficult to tell what to expect from Lefty this time around.
Amongst active players only Tiger Woods (4) has more Green Jackets than Mickelson, so with both players finding a resurgence in form this season, it certainly makes for an interesting spectacle.
Why he can win the 2018 Masters
At 47 years of age, Mickelson would become the oldest winner of a Green Jacket, a record Jack Nicklaus has held since 1986, when he won at 46 years, 82 Days old. So why can Phil break such a long-standing record?
First and foremost, he is playing great golf once again. The way he has played this season, after a disappointing 2017 is remarkable and he is playing well below his years. Since missing the cut at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his first start in 2018, Mickelson has finished T45-T5-T2-T6-1 in stroke-play events, before losing out in his group stage to Charles Howell III at the WGC Match Play. Mickelson did beat the other two participants in his group, Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Satoshi Kodaira though, so he certainly showed some form in Austin too.
History is not on his side, as the last player to win here in his 40’s, was Mark O’Meara who was 41 when winning in 1998, and only six players have done it, in the history of the event. Mickelson is an elite talent though, and good enough to join such an exclusive list. He will relish the opportunity to break Jack’s record as the oldest winner, and go down as the second oldest major winner overall to date. Age should not factor into his performance this year and it feels like this is best time for him to pick up a fourth Green Jacket.
As Mickelson approaches 50 it is going to get harder and harder to compete here, so to ride the form he has shown this season to another win at Augusta will certainly be his at the forefront of his mind.
His game is in fine shape so far this season, not only from the outside looking in but also from a statistical standpoint. Mickelson currently ranks 2nd in SG: Putting, 4th in SG: Approach-the-Green and 19th in SG: Tee-to-Green, all of which is exceptional for a player who is meant to be in his twilight years.
His SG: Around-the-Green ranking (50th) would ideally be higher, but he knows full well how to play miraculous shots around the greens, especially at Augusta, a massive strength of his game year-on-year.
All the time he is hitting the ball the way he is and draining the number of putts he has been, he is going to have a chance to win every time he tees it up, especially at his favoured venues.
Augusta is certainly one of those places, and all of a sudden it no longer looks like time is catching up with Mickelson, so he will expect to be right in the mix in two Sunday’s time.