Fellow players pile on the praise for Phil Mickelson's PGA Championship play
Phil Mickelson is on top of the leaderboard through three rounds at the 103rd PGA Championship.
His performance is also on the top of everyone’s mind.
“I don't watch golf, but I promise you I'm going to turn it on to watch him today,” said Jordan Spieth, who was born the year Mickelson first competed in the PGA Championship. “It's pretty incredible.”
Mickelson shot a 2-under-par 70 in the third round and leads Brooks Koepka by one going into Sunday. He is the oldest 54-hole leader or co-leader in the Championship’s history.
Rickie Fowler, long part of Mickelson’s famous Tuesday practice games, said he’s seen the 50-year-old practicing a lot at Grove XXIII, Michael Jordan’s course in South Florida. Fowler said he saw Mickelson play a lot of golf there recently and had been trying to get in as many reps as possible prior to the PGA Championship.
If there was one pre-Championship indicator of how Mickelson was feeling coming into the week – save for Fowler spotting the 2005 PGA Champion grinding and practicing – it was Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker’s practice game with Mickelson, Zach Johnson and Will Zalatoris.
“Phil and I were 3-up after 3 and he said it loud enough so everybody could hear, ‘You know, Strick, I thought we'd be more up at this point,’ and we were 3-up after 3. Typical Phil,” said Stricker. “It's good to see him out here. He has such a good time in those practice rounds and seeing everybody it seems like. He still has a tremendous amount of desire to compete at this level, and that's why he's doing it and that's why he's playing well.”
Another major champion, Gary Woodland, was quick to continue to pile on the praise.
Woodland, who has been on the PGA Tour for more than a decade, said he appreciates Mickelson’s longevity.
“I've been out here now 13 years, and he's been obviously one of the best players in the world since then. But he's phenomenal. He's entertaining,” said Woodland. “And what he's doing, that gives everybody hope. I want to play this game for a long time, but what he's doing right now coming out and beating up on the other guys, on this golf course, too, it's very impressive.”
We’ll leave the last word to Charley Hoffman. Hoffman, who sits T13 going into Sunday’s final round, sums up Mickelson’s 54-hole effort nicely.
“Age is just a number,” said Hoffman. “Phil works harder than anybody. I know second to none, he plays more holes than anybody. He practices harder than anybody.
“Phil is a great player. He obviously hasn't had the results on Tour this year that he has hoped, I would assume, but you know what, Phil is one of the best players to ever play the game.”
And now Mickelson will look to add to that legacy on Sunday.