Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson (1 Open, 3 Masters. 1 USPGA, 11 Ryder Cup's.)


Philip Alfred Mickelson (born June 16, 1970) is an American professional golfer. He has won 42 events on the PGA Tour, including five major championships: three Masters titles (200420062010), a PGA Championship (2005),[1] and an Open Championship (2013).[2]

Mickelson is one of 16 golfers in the history of the sport to win at least three of the four professional majors.[3] The only major that has eluded him is the U.S. Open. Mickelson has finished runner-up in the U.S. Open a record six times.[4] He has been described by The Economist as "golf’s best loser ever".[5]

Mickelson has spent over 700 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking,[6] has reached a career-high world ranking of 2nd several times and is a life member of the PGA Tour. Mickelson is nicknamed Lefty for his left-handed swing, even though he is otherwise right-handed. Mickelson also holds the record for the most major tournament victories by a left hander.[7] He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in May 2012.[8]

Born in San DiegoCalifornia,[9] to parents Philip Anthony Mickelson (an airline pilot and former naval aviator)[10] and Mary Mickelson (née Santos),[11] he was raised there and in Scottsdale, Arizona. Although right-handed otherwise, he played golf left-handed, as he learned by watching his right-handed father swing and mirroring his style.[12] Mickelson began golf under his father's instruction before starting school. Phil Sr.'s work schedule as a commercial pilot allowed them to play together several times a week and an extensive practice area in their San Diego backyard allowed young Phil to hone his creative short game.[10] Mickelson graduated from the University of San Diego High School in 1988.

Mickelson attended Arizona State University in Tempe on a golf scholarship and graduated in 1992. During his tenure at ASU, Mickelson became the face of amateur golf in the United States, capturing three NCAA individual championships and three Haskins Awards (1990, 1991, 1992) as the outstanding collegiate golfer. With three individual NCAA championships, Mickelson shares the record for most individual NCAA championships alongside Ben Crenshaw. Mickelson also led the Sun Devils to the NCAA National Championship in 1990. Over the course of his collegiate career, he won 16 tournaments.[13]

Mickelson was the second collegiate golfer to earn first-team All-American honors all four years. In 1990, he also became the first golfer with a left-handed swing to win the U.S. Amateur title. Mickelson secured perhaps his greatest achievement as an amateur in January 1991, winning his first PGA Tour event, the Northern Telecom Open, in Tucson. At age 20, he was only the sixth amateur to win a tour event, and the first in over five years, last by Scott Verplank at the Western Open in August 1985. Other players to accomplish this feat include Doug Sanders, who won the 1956 Canadian Open, and Gene Littler, the winner of the San Diego Open in 1954.[14] To date, no other amateur has won a PGA Tour event since Mickelson's victory at the 1991 Northern Telecom Open.

In 1991, Mickelson was the low amateur at the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.

After graduating from ASU in 1992, Mickelson turned professional and bypassed the Tour's qualifying process (Q-School) because of his 1991 win in Tucson, which earned him a two-year exemption. In early 1993, Mickelson hired Jim "Bones" Mackay[15] as his caddy, who remains in that position today. He won many PGA Tour tournaments in this period, including the Byron Nelson Golf Classic and the World Series of Golf in 1996, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 1998, the Colonial National Invitation in 2000 and the Greater Hartford Open in 2001 and again in 2002.

His 2000 Buick Invitational win ended Tiger Woods' streak of six consecutive tournament victories. After the win, Mickelson said, "I didn't want to be the bad guy. I wasn't trying to end the streak per se. I was just trying to win the golf tournament."[16]

Although he had performed very well in the majors up to the end of the 2003 season (17 top-ten finishes, and six second- or third-place finishes between 1999 and 2003), his inability to win any of them lead to him frequently being described as the "best golfer never to win a major".[17]

Mickelson at The Open Championship in 2006 at Hoylake

Mickelson's first professional major championship win came at the Masters in 2004, where he secured victory with an 18-foot (5.5 m) birdie putt on the final hole. The runner-up, a stroke back, was Ernie Els; playing in different pairs, the two had traded birdies and eagles on the back nine on Sunday.[18] In addition to getting the "majors monkey" off his back, this made him only the third golfer with a left-handed swing to win a major, the others being New Zealander Sir Bob Charles, who won The Open Championship in 1963, and Canadian Mike Weir, who won The Masters in 2003. (Like Mickelson, Weir is a right-hander who plays left-handed.) A fourth left-handed winner of a major is Bubba Watson, the Masters champion in 2012 and 2014. Unlike Mickelson and Weir, Watson is a natural left-hander.

Just prior to the Ryder Cup in 2004, Mickelson was dropped from his long-standing contract with Titleist/Acushnet Golf, when he took heat for a voicemail message he left for a Callaway Golf executive. In it he praised their driver and golf ball, and thanked them for their help in getting some equipment for his brother. This memo was played to all of their salesmen, and eventually found its way back to Titleist. He was then let out of his multi-year deal with Titleist 16 months early, and signed on with Callaway Golf, his current equipment sponsor. He endured a great deal of ridicule and scrutiny from the press and fellow Ryder Cup members for his equipment change so close to the Ryder Cup matches. He faltered at the 2004 Ryder Cup with a 1–3–0 record, but refused to blame the sudden change in equipment or his practice methods for his performance.[19]

In November 2004, Mickelson tallied his career-low for an 18-hole round: a 59 at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Poipu Bay Golf Course in Hawaii.

The following year in a Monday, final-round conclusion forced by weather, Mickelson captured his second professional major at the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol. On the 18th hole, Mickelson hit one of his trademark soft pitches from deep greenside rough to within a foot and a half (0.45 m) of the cup, and made his birdie to finish at a 4-under-par total of 276, one shot ahead of Steve Elkington and Thomas Bjørn.

Mickelson captured his third professional major title the following spring at The Masters in 2006. Mickelson won his second Green Jacket after shooting a 3-under-par final round, winning by two strokes over his nearest rival, Tim Clark.[20] This win propelled him to 2nd place in the Official World Golf Ranking (his career best), behind Woods, and ahead of Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen.

After winning two majors in a row heading into the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, Mickelson was bidding to join Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods as the only players to win three consecutive professional majors (not necessarily in the same calendar year). Mickelson was the joint-leader going into the final round, but he was part of a wild finish to the tournament, in which he ended up in a tie for second place at +6 (286), one shot behind Australian winner Geoff Ogilvy.

On the 71st hole, Mickelson, with the lead at +4, missed the fairway to the left, and his drive finished inside a garbage can, from which he was granted a free drop; he parred the hole, but his bogey on the previous hole reduced his lead to one shot heading to the final hole.

Needing a par on the 72nd hole for a one-shot victory, Mickelson chose to hit a driver off the tee and hit it well left of the fairway (he had only hit two of thirteen fairways previously in the round). The ball bounced off a corporate hospitality tent and settled in an area of trampled-down grass that was enclosed with trees. He decided to go for the green with his second shot, rather than play it safe and pitch out into the fairway. His ball then hit a tree, and did not advance more than 50 yards (46 m). His next shot plugged into the left greenside bunker. He was unable to get up and down from there, resulting in a double bogey, and costing him a chance of winning the championship outright or getting into a playoff with Ogilvy.[21]

After his final round, Mickelson said: "I'm still in shock. I still can't believe I did that. This one hurts more than any tournament because I had it won. Congratulations to Geoff Ogilvy on some great play. I want to thank all the people that supported me. The only thing I can say is I'm sorry."[22] He was even more candid when he said: "I just can't believe I did that. I'm such an idiot."[23][24]

Mickelson at 2007 Barclays Singapore Open.

During the third round of the 2006 Ford Championship at Doral, Mickelson gave a spectator $200 after his wayward tee shot at the par-5 10th broke the man's watch.[25]

Mickelson also has shown other signs of appreciation. In 2007 after hearing the story of retired NFL player, Conrad Dobler, and his family on ESPN explaining their struggles to pay medical bills, Mickelson volunteered to pay tuition for Holli Dobler, Conrad Dobler's daughter, at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.[26]

Frustrated with his driving accuracy, Mickelson made the decision in April 2007 to leave longtime swing coach, Rick Smith. He then began working with Butch Harmon, a former coach of Greg Norman and Tiger Woods. On May 13, 2007, Mickelson came from a stroke back on the final round to shoot a three-under 69 to win The Players Championship with an 11-under-par 277. This Mother's Day win was his first without his wife and children present.

In the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont, after shooting 11 over par after 2 rounds, Mickelson missed the cut (by a stroke) for the first time in 31 majors, since The Open Championship in 1999 at Carnoustie. He had been hampered by a wrist injury that was incurred while practicing in the thick rough at Oakmont a few weeks before the tournament.

On September 3, 2007, Mickelson won the Deutsche Bank Championship which is the second FedEx Cup playoff event. On the final day, he was paired with Tiger Woods, who ended up finishing two strokes behind Mickelson in a tie for second. It was the first time Mickelson was able to beat Woods while paired together on the final day of a tournament. The next day Mickelson announced that he would not be competing in the third FedEx Cup playoff event. The day before his withdrawal, Mickelson said during a television interview that PGA Tour Commissioner, Tim Finchem, had not responded to advice he had given him on undisclosed issues.[27]

In 2008, Mickelson won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial with a −14, one shot ahead of Tim Clark and Rod Pampling. Mickelson shot a first-round 65 to start off the tournament at −5. He ended the day tied with Brett Wetterich, two shots behind leader, Johnson Wagner.[28] Mickelson shot a second round 68, and the third round 65, overall, being −12 for the first three rounds.[29]On the final hole, after an absolutely horrendous tee shot, he was in thick rough with trees in his way. Many players would have punched out, and taken their chances at making par from the fairway with a good wedge shot. Instead, he pulled out a high-lofted wedge and hit his approach shot over a tree, landing on the green where he one-putted for the win.[30]

In a Men's Vogue article, Mickelson recounted his effort to lose 20 pounds with the help of trainer Sean Cochran. "Once the younger players started to come on tour, he realized that he had to start working out to maintain longevity in his career," Cochran said.[31] Mickelson's regimen consisted of increasing flexibility and power, eating five smaller meals a day, aerobic training, and carrying his own golf bag.[32]

Mickelson was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.[33]

Mickelson won for the first time in 2009 by defending his title at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club. He finished one stroke ahead of Steve Stricker. It was Mickelson's 35th win on tour; he surpassed Vijay Singh for second place on the current PGA Tour wins list. A month later, he won his 36th title on the tour, and his first World Golf Championship, at the 2009 WGC-CA Championship with a one- stroke win over Nick Watney.

On May 20, 2009, it was announced that Mickelson's wife, Amy, was diagnosed with breast cancer, and Mickelson announced he would suspend his PGA Tour schedule indefinitely. She would begin treatment with major surgery as early as the following two weeks. Mickelson was scheduled to play the HP Byron Nelson Championship May 21–24, and to defend his title May 28–31 at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, but withdrew from both events.[34] During the final round of the 2009 BMW PGA Championship, fellow golfer and family friend John Daly wore bright pink trousers in support of Mickelson's wife.[35] Also, the next Saturday, at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, a "Pink Out" event was hosted, and the PGA Tour players all wore pink that day, to support the Mickelson family.

On May 31, Mickelson announced that he would return to play on the PGA Tour in June at the St. Jude Classic and the U.S. Open, since he had heard from the doctors treating his wife that her cancer had been detected in an early stage.[36] Mickelson shot a final round 70 at the 2009 U.S. Open and recorded his fifth runner-up finish at the U.S. Open. He shared the lead after an eagle at the 13th hole, but fell back with bogeys on 15 and 17; Lucas Glover captured the championship.

On July 6, 2009, it was announced that his mother, Mary Mickelson, was diagnosed with breast cancer and would have surgery at the same hospital where his wife was treated.[37] After hearing the news of his mother now being diagnosed with breast cancer, Mickelson took another leave of absence from the Tour, missing The Open Championship at Turnberry. On July 28, Mickelson announced he would return to the PGA Tour in August at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, the week before the PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota.

In September, Mickelson won The Tour Championship for the second time in his career. He entered the final round four strokes off the lead, but shot a final round 65 to win the event by three strokes over Tiger Woods.[38] With the win, Mickelson finished the season second behind Woods in the 2009 FedEx Cup standings.[39]

On November 8, 2009, Mickelson won the WGC-HSBC Champions by one shot over Ernie Els in Shanghai.[40]

On April 11, 2010, Mickelson won the 2010 Masters Tournament with a 16-under-par performance, giving him a three-stroke win over Lee Westwood. The win marked the third Masters victory for Mickelson and his fourth professional major championship overall.[41] Critical to Mickelson's win was a dramatic run in the third round on Saturday in which Mickelson, trailing leader Westwood by five strokes as he prepared his approach shot to the 13th green, proceeded to make eagle, then to hole-out for eagle from 141 yards at the next hole, the par 4 14th, then on the next, the par 5 15th, to miss eagle from 81 yards by mere inches. After tapping in for birdie at 15, Mickelson, at −12, led Westwood, at −11, who had bogeyed hole 12 and failed to capitalize on the par 5 13th, settling for par.

Westwood did recapture the one-stroke lead by round's end, but the momentum carried forward for Mickelson into round 4, where he posted a bogey-free 67 to Westwood's 71, and no other pursuer was able to keep pace to the end, though K. J. Choi and Anthony Kim made notable charges. For good measure, Mickelson birdied the final hole and memorably greeted his waiting wife, Amy, with a prolonged hug and kiss.[42]

For many fans, this finish to the tournament was especially poignant, given Amy's suffering from breast cancer for the preceding year; Mary Mickelson, Phil's mother, was also dealing with cancer. CBS Sports announcer Jim Nantz's call of the final birdie putt, "That's a win for the family," was seen by many as capturing the moment well.[43]

Thanks to the dramatic return of Tiger Woods to competitive play after a scandal-ridden 20-week absence, to his close contention throughout for the lead (he finished tied with Choi for 4th at −11), and to Mickelson and others' memorably exciting play over the weekend, the 2010 Masters showed strong television ratings in the United States, ranking third all-time to Woods's historic wins in 1997 and 2001.[44] Mickelson's win left him second only to Woods in major championships among his competitive contemporaries, moving him ahead of Ernie ElsVijay Singh and Pádraig Harrington, with three major championships each and each, like Mickelson, with dozens of worldwide wins.

Mickelson, one of the favorites for the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, shot 74 and 66 on Thursday and Friday to sit a shot off the lead. However, two weekend scores of 73 gave him a T4 finish. During the remainder of the 2010 season, Mickelson had multiple opportunities to become the number one player in the Official World Golf Ranking following the travails of Tiger Woods. However, a string of disappointing finishes by Mickelson saw the number one spot eventually go to Englishman Lee Westwood.

In the days leading up to the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits (located near MoselSheboygan County, at Haven, Wisconsin), Mickelson announced he had been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. He added that he had started medical treatment, and had become a vegetarian in hopes of aiding his recovery. He maintains that both his short- and long-term prognosis are good, that the condition should have no long-term effect on his golfing career, and that he currently feels well. He also stated that the arthritis may go into permanent remission after one year of medical treatment. He went on to finish the championship T12, five shots back of victor Martin Kaymer.

Mickelson started his season at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course. He shot 3 rounds of 67-69-68 and was tied for the 54 hole lead with Bill Haas. Mickelson needed to hole out on the 18th hole for eagle from 74 yards to force a playoff with Bubba Watson. He hit it to 4 feet and Watson won the tournament.

On April 3, 2011, Mickelson won the Shell Houston Open with a 20-under-par, three-stroke win over Scott Verplank. Mickelson rose to No. 3 in the world ranking, while Tiger Woods fell to No. 7. Mickelson had not been ranked above Woods since the week prior to the 1997 Masters Tournament.

At the 2011 Open Championship, Mickelson recorded just his second top-ten finish in 18 tournaments by tying for second with Dustin Johnson. His front nine 30 put him briefly in a tie for the lead with eventual champion Darren Clarke. However, some putting problems caused him to fade from contention toward the end, to finish in a tie for second place.

Mickelson made his debut for the year at the Humana Challenge and finished tied for 49th. He missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open after shooting rounds of 77 and 68. In the final round of the 2012 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Mickelson rallied from six shots back, winning the tournament by two strokes with a final round score of 8-under 64 and a four-round total of 269.[45] The win marked his 40th career victory on the PGA Tour. The following week at Riviera Country Club, Mickelson lost the Northern Trust Open in a three-way playoff.[46] He had held the lead or a share of it from day one until the back nine on Sunday when Bill Haas posted the clubhouse lead at seven under par. Mickelson holed a 27-foot birdie putt on the final regulation hole to force a playoff alongside Haas and Keegan Bradley. Haas however won the playoff with a 40-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole. The second-place finish moved Mickelson back into the world's top 10.[47]

Mickelson finished tied for third at the 2012 Masters Tournament. After opening the tournament with a two-over-par 74, he shot 68-66 in the next two rounds and ended up one behind the leader Peter Hanson by the Saturday night. Mickelson had a poor start to his fourth round, scoring a triple-bogey when he hit his ball far to the left of the green on the par-3 4th hole, hitting the stand and landing in a bamboo plant. This ended up being Mickelson's only score over par in the whole round, and he ended with a score of eight-under overall. Earlier in the tournament he had received widespread praise for being present to watch Jack NicklausArnold Palmer, and Gary Player hit the ceremonial opening tee-shots, nearly seven hours before Mickelson's own tee time.[48]

Mickelson made a charge during the final round at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, but bogeyed the 17th and 18th, finishing T-7th. He then withdrew from the Memorial Tournament, citing mental fatigue, after a first round 79. He was to be paired with Tiger Woods and Bubba Watson at the U.S. Open. He fought to make the cut in the U.S. Open, and finished T-65th. After taking a couple of weeks off, he played the Greenbrier Classic. Putting problems meant a second straight missed cut at the Greenbrier and a third missed cut at The Open Championship, shooting 73-78 (11 over par). He finished T-43rd at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He then finished T-36th at the PGA Championship.

To start the 2012 FedEx Cup Playoffs, Mickelson finished T38 at The Barclays, +1 for the tournament. He tied with Tiger WoodsZach Johnson, and five other players. In this tournament, he started using the claw putting grip on the greens.[49] At the next event, the Deutsche Bank Championship, he finished the tournament with a −14, tied for 4th with Dustin Johnson.[50] At the BMW Championship, Mickelson posted a −16 for the first three rounds, one of those rounds being a −8, 64. On the final day, Mickelson shot a −2, 70, to finish tied for 2nd, with Lee Westwood, two shots behind leader, and back-to-back winner, Rory McIlroy.[50] At the Tour Championship, he ended up finishing tied for 15th.[50] He went on to have a 3–1 record at the Ryder Cup; however, the USA team lost the event.

Mickelson began the 2013 season by playing in the Humana Challenge in January, where he finished T37 at −17.[50] His next event was the following week in his home event near San Diego at the Farmers Insurance Open. Mickelson endured a disappointing tournament, finishing T51, shooting all four rounds in the 70's.

In the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Mickelson tied his career low round of 60. He made seven birdies in his first nine holes and needed a birdie on the 18th hole to equal the PGA Tour record of 59. However, his 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole lipped out, resulting in him missing out by a single shot on making only the sixth round of 59 in PGA Tour history. Mickelson led the tournament wire-to-wire and completed a four shot win over Brandt Snedeker for his 41st PGA Tour victory and 3rd Phoenix Open title. Mickelson's score of 28-under-par tied Mark Calcavecchia's tournament scoring record.[51] He also moved back inside the world's top 10 after falling down as far as number 22.

Near-miss at 2013 U.S. Open[edit]

At the 2013 U.S. Open, Mickelson entered the final round leading by one stroke after rounds of 67-72-70 (−1) over the first three days, but he started the final round poorly, three putting the 3rd and 5th holes for double-bogeys to fall out of the lead. He regained the lead at the 10th, when he holed his second shot from the rough for an unlikely eagle two. However a misjudgment at the short par three 13th, saw him fly the green and make a bogey to slip one behind leader Justin Rose. Another bogey followed at the 15th, before narrowly missing a birdie putt on the 16th that would have tied Rose. Mickelson could not find a birdie at the 17th and after a blocked drive on the 18th, could not hole his pitch from short of the green which led to a final bogey.

Mickelson ended up finishing tied for second with Jason Day, two strokes behind Justin Rose. It was the sixth runner-up finish of Mickelson's career at the U.S. Open, an event record and only behind Jack Nicklaus's seven runner-up finishes at The Open Championship.[52] After the event, Mickelson called the loss heartbreaking and said "this is tough to swallow after coming so close ... I felt like this was as good an opportunity I could ask for and to not get it ... it hurts."[53] It was also Father's Day, which happened to be his birthday.

Fifth professional major title at the 2013 Open Championship[edit]

The week before the 2013 Open Championship, Mickelson warmed up for the event by winning his first tournament on British soil at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open on July 14, after a sudden-death playoff against Branden Grace. After his Scottish Open victory, Mickelson spoke of his confidence ahead of his participation in the following week's major championship. Mickelson said: "I've never felt more excited going into The Open. I don't think there's a better way to get ready for a major than playing well the week before and getting into contention. Coming out on top just gives me more confidence."[54]

The following week, on July 21, Mickelson won his fifth professional major title at the Open Championship (often referred to as the British Open) at Muirfield Golf Links in Scotland, the oldest of the four major championships in professional golf. This is the first time in history that anyone has won both the Scottish Open and The Open Championship in the same year.[55] Mickelson birdied four of the last six holes in a brilliant final round of 66 to win the title by three strokes.[56] He shed tears on the final green after completing his round. Mickelson later said: "I played arguably the best round of my career, and shot the round of my life. The range of emotions I feel are as far apart as possible after losing the U.S. Open. But you have to be resilient in this game."[57] In an interview before the 2015 Open, Mickelson said, "Two years removed from that win, I still can't believe how much it means to me."[58]

Mickelson struggled in 2014, missing the cut at the Masters for the first time since 1997. He failed to contend at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst in his first bid to complete the career grand slam. Mickelson's lone top-10 of the PGA Tour season came at the year's final major, the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club. Mickelson shot rounds of 69-67-67-66 to finish solo second, one shot behind world number one Rory McIlroy.

Prior to the 2015 Masters, Mickelson's best finish in 2015 was a tie for 17th. At the 2015 Masters, Mickelson shot rounds of 70-68-67-69 to finish tied for second with Justin Rose, four shots behind champion Jordan Spieth. The second-place finish was Mickelson's 10th such finish in a major, placing him second all time only to Jack Nicklaus in that regard.

At the Open Championship Mickelson shot rounds of 70-72-70 to enter the final round eight shots behind outside the top 40. In the final round Mickelson birdied the 15th hole to move to 10 under and within two of the lead. After a missed 10 foot birdie putt on 16, Mickelson hit his drive on the infamous road hole 17th at the famed Old Course at St Andrews onto a 2nd floor balcony of the Old Course Hotel. The out of bounds drive lead to a triple bogey 7 that sent Mickelson tumbling out of contention.

Later in the year, it was announced that Mickelson would leave longtime swing coach Butch Harmon, feeling as though he needed to hear a new perspective on things.

After leaving Butch Harmon, Mickelson hired Andrew Getson of Greyhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, to serve as his new swing coach. The two worked together heavily in the 2015 offseason to get Mickelson's swing back.

Mickelson made his 2016 debut, under Getson's guidance, at the 2016 CareerBuilder Challenge. Mickelson shot rounds of 68-65-66-68 to finish in a tie for third place at 21-under-par. It was only Mickelson's fifth top-five finish since his win at the 2013 Open Championship. The third-place finish was Mickelson's highest finish in his first worldwide start of a calendar year since he won the same event to begin the 2004 season.

At the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Mickelson shot rounds of 68-65-66-72 to finish in solo second place, one shot behind winner Vaughn Taylor. Mickelson lipped out a five-foot birdie putt to force a playoff on the 72nd hole. Mickelson entered the final round with a two stroke lead, his first 54-hole lead since the 2013 U.S. Open and was seeking to end a winless drought dating back 52 worldwide events to the 2013 Open Championship.[59]

Mickelson shot 63 in the opening round of the Open Championship at Royal Troon. The round set a new course record and matched the previous major championship record for lowest round. Mickelson had a 15-foot birdie putt that narrowly missed on the final hole to set a new major championship scoring record of 62.[60] He followed this up with a 69 in the second round for a 10 under par total and a one shot lead over Henrik Stenson going into the weekend. In the third round Mickelson, shot a one under 70 for a total of 11 under par to enter the final round one shot back of Stenson. Despite Mickelson's bogey-free 65 in the final round, Stenson shot 63 to win by three shots. Mickelson finished 11 strokes clear of 3rd place, a major championship record for a runner up. Mickelson's 267 total set a record score for a runner up in the British Open, and only trails Mickelson's 266 at the 2001 PGA Championship as the lowest total by a runner up in major championship history.

As of the completion of the 2016 PGA Championship, Mickelson leads the PGA Tour in adjusted scoring average for the 2015-2016 season.

In 2015, Forbes estimated Mickelson's annual income at $51 million.[61]

As a professional competitor, Mickelson's playing style is described by many as "aggressive" and highly social.[17][62][63] His strategy toward difficult shots (bad lies, obstructions) would tend t