Phil Mickelson hits ridiculous milestone — and talks about it as only he can
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The plateau? That is rare.
But the reaction? That was peak Phil Mickelson.
Lefty is playing the PGA Championship this week, and he’s playing respectably at Oak Hill Country Club’s East Course. He opened with a three-over 73 on Thursday, followed with a 72 on Friday and made the cut on the number. And because he reached the weekend here, Mickelson hit a couple of lofty milestones.
On the PGA Championship front, Mickelson made his 27th cut (in 30 starts), tying him for the most all-time with Jack Nicklaus and Raymond Floyd. The number nearly quadruples, though, when looking at cuts made across all majors.
There, Mickelson hit 100 (in 119 starts), and he’s third all-time behind just Nicklaus, who’s at 131, and Gary Player, who’s at 102. (If you’re wondering, Tiger Woods has made 77 cuts in 91 major starts.) And over the past couple of days, Mickelson had some thoughts about it all.
We’ll go from reflective — to looking ahead, we’ll call it.
“Didn’t play as well as I expected but tomorrow is another opportunity. Oak Hill is as great a major course and set up as I’ve seen. Well done PGA. It’s never easy to find the line between identifying the best or embarrassing them. Oak Hill and the PGA nailed it!”
That’s high praise. To a reporter with the PGA Championship’s website on Saturday following a third-round 75, he was similarly thoughtful.
“It shows that I’ve had a lot of great experiences in the game of golf and that I’ve had a lot of great years and opportunities and I guess life experiences,” the 52-year-old told the website. “Playing in these tournaments is something I’m very appreciative of.
“I mean, it just shows how old I am, I guess, and how many years I’ve been playing. But it’s been really fun to participate in so many great events and play well in them.”
Mickelson also spun it, well, forward. Kira K. Dixon, working for Sky Sports, asked the six-time major champion this on Saturday afternoon:
“I want to talk about an achievement that you’ve reached after making the cut yesterday. Twenty-seven made cuts at the PGA Championship. A hundred made cuts at major championships. How much does it mean to you to reach a milestone like that?”
Which drew this Mickelson response, as described as best we can.
“[Looking down at a monitor] Yeah, this first 100 cuts has been interesting,” he started. “I think the second 100 is going to be the most interesting part. But, um.”
[He smiled, He looked up at Dixon. He shook his head. He continued.]
“I guess — I didn’t know about that cut streak, and [he paused] it’s a lot of years. I mean, it’s a lot of golf. I didn’t realize it had been that many and something I’m certainly proud of, but it also shows my age and it also shows a lot of great experiences that I’ve had and I’m very appreciative of that.”
Some lightness. Some depth. Full Mickelson.