This was GOLF.com’s most-read instruction story of 2021
Phil Mickelson might be 51 years old, but he’s still in the best shape of his life. In case you needed any reminder, Lefty won a major championship this year, and he did so by hitting (to borrow a term from the man himself) “hellacious seeds” off the tee.
Mickelson’s distance off the tee — not to mention his all-world short game — has allowed him to remain competitive in the latter portion of his career despite the effects of Father Time. In fact, he averaged 13 more yards off the tee in 2021 than he did in 2013, the last year he won a major championship.
Some of Lefty’s power increase can be attributed to technology, but there’s another distinct reason for his late-career bombs.
“I worked harder,” he said at the PGA Championship. “I work harder physically to be able to practice as long as I wanted to and I’ve had to work a lot harder to be able to maintain focus throughout a round. If I work a little harder, spend a little more time in the gym, eat well, practice hard, there’s no reason why I can’t put it all out there for 18 holes.”
That sacrifice is obvious when looking at Mickelson’s physique. As GOLF.com’s Luke Kerr-Dineen pointed out in our most-read instruction article of the year, “soft-and-smiley Phil became lean-and-macho seemingly overnight” once he began to take diet and fitness seriously.
“I wasn’t educated,” Phil told GOLF.com ahead of the 2020 U.S. Open. “I either wasn’t aware or didn’t want to know the things I was putting in my body, whether it was diet soda and how toxic that is, or whether it was the amount of sugar and how much inflammation it causes, or whether it was the quantity; all of those things, I just kind of shut my eyes to.”
Mickelson has a particular fondness of periodic fasting to achieve the physical results he craves. And, as GOLF.com senior editor Sean Zak learned last year, he takes it quite seriously. Lefty’s coffee-and-water fasting routine is rather intense, but that’s not the only type of fasting he participates in.
“I’ve got to eat a lot less and I’ve got to eat better,” Mickelson said. “I just can’t eat as much and I have to let my body kind of recover. But it’s also been a blessing for me because I feel better and I don’t have inflammation and I wake up feeling good. It’s been a sacrifice worth making.”
Check out Kerr-Dineen’s entire story on Mickelson’s age-defying fast here. And who knows — maybe you resetting your diet like Mickelson is your ticket to a better golf game in 2022.
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