Looking back: Was John Daly’s incredible PGA Championship victory at Crooked Stick the most improbable major win?

John Daly was a last-minute, late-night drive-in for the PGA Championship at Crooked Stick.

INDIANAPOLIS — He was a 25-year-old blond guy, an unknown rookie golfer from the University of Arkansas. He was a last-minute, late-night drive-in for the next morning’s PGA Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel.

It was a tournament John Daly didn’t think he would be playing in. He was the ninth alternate.

But the golf gods were with him as the other eight alternates dropped out. Daly was a player who came in that first day — not even getting a chance to practice on the infamously tough course designed by Pete Dye, 7,289 yards, the second-longest in PGA history — and he scored a 69.

On the second and third days, he was the pudgy character people started noticing as he smashed the ball, tearing up the course Jack Nicklaus said after three practice rounds was the most difficult he had ever played.

As that PGA Championship at Crooked Stick unfolded in August 1991, a growing legion of supporters awestruck and flabbergasted, lined each hole like a parade route. They roared and gave Daly ovations at every green.

Who was this guy, this guy that looked like he could be a used-car salesman, a bookie, a jovial uncle, that was taking over this competition of elite, seasoned pros.

“He had an Arnold Palmer-type reception out there,” Bruce Lietzke, who was paired with Daly on the third day of the championship, told the Indianapolis Star. “Especially on some of those iron shots that were up there a minute and a half and came down by the hole.”

That was it. Those long shots, the shots that eventually earned Daly the nickname Long John. They mesmerized people who watched.

And on Aug. 11, 1991, that blond bomber from Arkansas mesmerized and shocked the golf world: He won the PGA title.

“This is like a miracle,” Daly said after draining a four-foot par putt on the final hole. “It just doesn’t happen that often.”

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‘A big PGA upset’

Thirty years ago, a photo of a determined Daly in a white polo and pleated khakis, swinging the club, was splashed on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It was Aug. 19, 1991, eight days after his win.

The words over his picture declared: “Long Shot: Big hitter John Daly in a big PGA upset.”

Inside, the article was titled “Over Drive: Belting mammoth tee shots, John Daly won the PGA with an awesome display of power.” The words captured the still stunned golf world.

“You don’t have to believe what happened at Crooked Stick last week,” John Garrity wrote. “You can accept as fiction the news that an unknown Arkansas pro named John Daly bludgeoned a golf course into submission on his way to a three-shot victory in the 1991 PGA Championship.”

People who watched at Crooked Stick were swearing Daly was golf’s next superstar, never mind that he didn’t win a tournament in three years at the University of Arkansas or, as Garrity wrote, “that his 300-plus-yard drives rarely found the fairways until last week.”

It wasn’t usual that a ninth alternate would get to play in a major championship and then topple the world’s most experienced golfers. And do so at the very last minute.

Daly had to drive all night from his home in Memphis to get to Carmel in time for the first round. And it wasn’t until the morning of the first day of the tournament that he knew for sure he was playing. Daly replaced Nick Price, who stayed home for the birth of his first child.

Before the tournament, Daly wasn’t a blip on anyone’s radar. England’s Nick Faldo and the United States’ Payne Stewart were heavy favorites to win the 73rd PGA Championship.

But then, this unlikely fellow, who wasn’t convinced he should even be there, stepped in and magic happened.

But first, tragedy struck.

John Daly reaches out to fans on his way to the 10th tee in the final round of the 1991 PGA Championship.

Day one: A killer storm

Weather warning signs were put up on leaderboards about noon on the first day of the PGA Championship in 1991. Then a violent storm swept Crooked Stick.

A siren suspended play at 2:14 p.m. as players and caddies were transported to the clubhouse.

At 2:40 p.m., Thomas Weaver, 39, of Fishers died after being struck by lightning during the brief, but intense storm.

John Daly reacts while playing in the final round of the 73rd PGA Championship at Crooked Stick.
“It certainly doesn’t seem right that a man came to watch us play golf and now somebody has to tell his family he died,” said golfer Ken Green. “I guess when God wants you he’s going to take you. It’s just unfortunate that it happened.”

Hours after the tragedy, Arnold Palmer spoke to the media.

“I think every golfer out here feels very badly,” he said. “It’s a terrible thing. People say what are you going to do about it but there’s nothing we can do about it. You just hope everybody takes cover when they’re warned.”

The crowd for the first round was estimated at 15,000, a figure then-club president Michael Browning said might have been much higher had thunderstorms not been forecast.

At the end of the first day, Daly had shot a 69 and was in good standing, two shots behind leaders Kenny Knox and Ian Woosnam.

At the end of the first day, Daly had also been shaken.

That Fishers man who died left behind a wife and two girls, Karen, 8 at the time, and Emily, who was 12. “I felt I was almost responsible for him being killed,” Daly later said of that opening round.

After receiving his $230,000 check for the win in Carmel, Daly gave $30,000 of it away — for the education of Weaver’s girls.

John Daly
John Daly plays a shot during the 73rd PGA Championship in 1991 at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Indianapolis. (Stephen Munday/Getty Images)

‘He hits the ball in places nobody does’

As the second day of the championship dawned, Daly’s rise to “unknown hero” took off.

“He’s treating Pete Dye’s 7,280-yard monster like a pitch and putt course with his booming tee ball,” columnist Robin Miller wrote in the IndyStar.

Daly’s 5-under 67 in the second round shot him to the top of the leaderboard, 8 under par for the tournament. It included one eagle, seven birdies and long-distance drives that left his competitors shaking their heads.

“It’s unbelievable. I’ve never seen anyone hit the ball like that,” said Wayne Grady, the defending PGA champion who was playing ahead of Daly all day. “I mean it’s amazing. He’s hitting 8- and 9-irons into holes where we are hitting 2- and 3-irons.”

Jeff “Squeaky” Medlin, Price’s full-time caddie, had never seen Daly until the first tee the first day of the championship.

“John has shown me a side of golf I don’t normally see,” Medlin said at the time. “He hits the ball in places nobody else does and he was a little hard to club at first.”

25-year-old rookie John Daly knocked in a putt on the final hole to win the PGA Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club, August 11, 1991.
Daly continued to be in wonder at his own good fortune.

“I haven’t really had a chance to win a tourney before, and I’m thrilled to be playing like this,” said Daly, who had spent the past four years trying to get on the Tour.

By Saturday’s round three, people were abuzz, utterly enamored with Daly. He birdied the 4th hole, 456 yards, with a huge drive, then took an eight iron and dropped the ball a foot from the hole.

On the 609-yard 5th hole, he came within 10 yards of reaching the green in two — even after his drive went right into the rough.

“The first two or three drives he hit, I wasn’t able to see,” said Lietzke of Daly’s play, “because the ball came off the clubface faster than I was used to.”

Yes. This Daly guy seemed to be the real deal.

“His play… ” Sports Illustrated wrote, “should get him into Ripley’s Believe It or Not.”

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‘I’ve done this my way’

The night before the final round, Daly went to the Colts game versus Seattle at the Hoosier Dome “and got a bigger cheer than did the Colts,” IndyStar wrote at the time.

The next morning, Daly ran away with the win, shooting his worst round of the tournament, 71, but still winning by three strokes against Lietzke, five better than third-place finisher Jim Gallagher Jr. and six better than Knox in fourth place.

“It was a vindication of sorts for Daly, who taught himself to play on a nine-hole course in Dardanelle, Ark. (population 3,621), using balls he had fished out of a pond,” Garrity wrote.

A day after the championship had closed in Carmel, IndyStar’s Wayne Fuson called Daly “perhaps the most unlikely winner of a major tournament since World War II.”

Before Sunday’s $230,000 payoff, Daly had made $166,000 on the tour for the entire year. Few had ever heard of him. And then they fell in love, Fuson wrote.

“John Daly is different. He’s the kind of a kid gray-haired groupies want to adopt, the kind of a guy younger gals in the gallery want to take home for their own,” said Fuson. “And, he’s the kind of buddy guys down at the neighborhood watering hole would want to join for a few brewskies.”

After he hoisted the trophy, Daly talked about his unlikely rise to golf’s elite title.

“I can tell you one thing, I’ve done this my way,” said Daly. “I don’t have anybody to blame for this win but me, and I love it.”

Daly made the 1991 PGA something different, something special.

“The world’s greatest players were at Crooked Stick,” Fuson wrote, “but this 73rd PGA will be remembered forever as the one won by the Blond Bomber named John Daly.”

Follow IndyStar sports reporter Dana Benbow on Twitter: @DanaBenbow. Reach her via email: dbenbow@indystar.com.

Erik van Rooyen issues apology for smashing tee box marker at PGA Championship

Erik van Rooyen took to Twitter to issue an apology, calling his actions “unacceptable” and “totally out of character.”

Before Phil Mickelson took the 103rd PGA Championship by storm, Erik van Rooyen took his club to a tee box marker at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course.

Van Rooyen was having a rough stretch late in his back nine during the second round last Friday with a bogey on No. 14, a double bogey on 15, another bogey on 16. It was after a poor tee shot on the 17th hole that he simply lost it, taking a swipe at one of the tee box markers. Marshalls can be seen flinching as if they were going to get hit by something.

For most, that would have been it, but after taking three steps, van Rooyen turned around and took another lash at the marker. This one took the club head off his shaft and made a caddie recoil out of the way.

Van Rooyen took a triple-bogey 6 on the hole. It was the third straight 6 on his scorecard. He later missed the cut.

On Wednesday, he took to Twitter to issue an apology, calling his actions “unacceptable” and “totally out of character.”

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PGA’s Seth Waugh apologizes to Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka for fan overflow

The scene on the 18th hole at the PGA Championship was chaotic, energetic, emotional but also maybe a little too close for comfort.

The scene was chaotic, energetic, emotional but also a little too close for comfort, especially for the two golfers in the final group.

As Phil Mickelson was walking up the 18th hole on Sunday, putting the finishing touches on an historic PGA Championship victory, it was pure bedlam behind him, as fans stormed the fairway, maneuvering for position, snapping cell phone photos and generally enjoying getting a little carried away.

Security at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course was simply overwhelmed by the moment.

Many simply got too close and one spectator even grabbed Mickelson by the shoulders. When asked on Twitter about that incident, Lefty said:

Elbowed him in the ribs. He backed off.

“I’ve never had something like that,” Mickelson said at his post-round media session. “It was a little bit unnerving but it was exceptionally awesome, too.”

As for runner-up Brooks Koepka, he managed to break through the crowd after being bumped in the knee a few times and seeing his caddie, Ricky Elliott, getting “drilled” in the face.

“It would have been cool if I didn’t have a knee injury and got dinged a few times in the knee in that crowd because no one really gave a s–t, personally,” Koepka said.

On Monday evening, PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh released a statement, admitting fans overdid it just a bit.

He also said that he spoke to both Mickelson and Koepka to extend an apology.

Meet Kyler Aubrey, the golf fan who got the ball after that amazing bunker shot by Phil Mickelson at PGA Championship

Kyler Aubrey has shared many meaningful moments with Tour players. An interaction with Phil Mickelson in his historic PGA run is the latest.

Buried in Kyler Aubrey’s closet is a Masters flag from 2013 with the signature of just one player: Phil Mickelson. When Aubrey met Mickelson and his wife Amy that year at Augusta National, Mickelson immediately bent down to sign Aubrey’s flag. When Mickelson accidentally wrote the wrong name on it – then subsequently scribbled it out – a horrified Amy promised the Aubrey family that her husband would sign a new one and they’d have it shipped.

Sure enough, the flag showed up a few weeks later to the Aubrey’s home in Statesboro, Georgia. On Sunday at the PGA Championship, Aubrey acquired another piece of Mickelson memorabilia. He and his dad Josh were just inside the ropes by No. 5 green at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course when Mickelson holed out from the sand, securing the birdie that helped him separate himself.

“When we were there we could actually see a perfect view of Phil making the shot and we were just screaming. When Phil made it, he came up to us and said here’s my lucky ball, I want you guys to have it, thank you for coming,” Josh said.

“…We were so in the moment that we didn’t even notice that Kyler had dropped the ball. Phil turned around and picked it back up and set it on his lap.”

Kyler Aubrey, 28, has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair. At Kiawah, the sand is particularly hard for him to navigate – something they realized in 2012. The Aubreys had practice-round tickets to that PGA Championship there, and then lucked into tickets for the rest of the week, too. Statesboro is only a 2 ½-hour drive from the South Carolina coast.

“While we were going around the course we kept getting stuck,” Josh said. “David Feherty came up to us and said I notice you guys kept getting stuck – this was like Sunday afternoon – he said I want to give you this all-access pass, you can go anyway you want to on the golf course.”

Feherty’s generosity made a world of difference in traversing the difficult terrain. It also helped spark lifelong friendships. Roughly an hour before McIlroy closed out his win that year, Josh and Kyler were near the scoring tent.

“I was like, I wonder if we can go up in here,” Josh remembered thinking. “We went in there and they let us through and all the golfers that finished would walk right by us.”

The Aubreys had spoken with Graeme McDowell in a practice round early week, and when McDowell saw them sitting there on Sunday, he joined them to chat with Kyler for nearly an hour. McDowell then introduced the family to Rory McIlroy.

Through the years, the Aubreys have maintained those friendships as they’ve attended Tour events all around the Southeast like the Players Championship, the Tour Championship. McIlroy always seeks out Kyler to catch up, Josh says, and the Aubreys have stayed at McDowell’s house a couple of times while attending the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

Rory McIlroy and Kyler Aubrey
Rory McIlroy and Kyler Aubrey at the 2012 PGA Championship. (Aubrey family photo)

A few years ago, Rickie Fowler, who has also become a friend, approached the Aubreys on the back of the practice range at Bay Hill and, when he found out they didn’t have Masters tickets for that year, got them tickets for the whole week.

Statesboro is also only an hour and a half from Augusta, so Kyler and Josh have frequently attended the Wednesday practice round at the Masters.

Kyler enjoys Wednesdays the most because it’s when he can interact with the players he’s developed relationships with through the years. He has been a golf fan since he was just a little boy, when Josh used to take him to the golf course and bungee his car seat into the golf cart while he played. Kyler loved to watch.

“When he was little, like 2 or 3 years old, he would get over to the TV and change the channel to the Golf Channel. Instead of watching cartoons, he was watching the Golf Channel,” Josh said.

Tiger Woods was just gaining in popularity about that time, and the Aubreys attended the Tour event in Hilton Head, South Carolina, in 1999 – the only year Woods played the event.

“Kyler was 6 when that happened, when he played,” Josh said. “That just kind of took it to a new level and then that’s all he wanted to do.”

Kyler Aubrey and Tiger Woods
Kyler Aubrey and Tiger Woods at the 2011 Players Championship. (Aubrey family photo)

Kyler’s younger sister Sloane, 19, also loves golf. She has played since the sixth grade, and continues to play, though not collegiately. Sunday at the PGA Championship was particularly special because Sloane was with the boys, too.

When Kyler was 22 and Sloane was 12, their brother Jordan, 17, died in a car accident. That’s when Kyler and Sloane grew closer. Golf has always brought the family together. The PGA Championship, however, marked the first time in nearly two years the Aubreys had gotten to be fans because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a tournament, Kyler is always an easy person for Tour players to spot.

“People would see him and he’s always in a good mood, he loves being out there, he’s always got a big smile and he always wants to give those guys hugs,” Josh said.

“I think that’s what he likes so much about golf is they’ll interact with him.”

Kyler brightens their day, just as they brighten his.

Phil Mickelson and Kyler Aubrey
Phil Mickelson and Kyler Aubrey at a previous PGA Tour event. (Aubrey family photo)

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Meet Kyler Aubrey, the golf fan who got the ball after that amazing bunker shot by Phil Mickelson at PGA Championship

Kyler Aubrey has shared many meaningful moments with Tour players. An interaction with Phil Mickelson in his historic PGA run is the latest.

Buried in Kyler Aubrey’s closet is a Masters flag from 2013 with the signature of just one player: Phil Mickelson. When Aubrey met Mickelson and his wife Amy that year at Augusta National, Mickelson immediately bent down to sign Aubrey’s flag. When Mickelson accidentally wrote the wrong name on it – then subsequently scribbled it out – a horrified Amy promised the Aubrey family that her husband would sign a new one and they’d have it shipped.

Sure enough, the flag showed up a few weeks later to the Aubrey’s home in Statesboro, Georgia. On Sunday at the PGA Championship, Aubrey acquired another piece of Mickelson memorabilia. He and his dad Josh were just inside the ropes by No. 5 green at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course when Mickelson holed out from the sand, securing the birdie that helped him separate himself.

“When we were there we could actually see a perfect view of Phil making the shot and we were just screaming. When Phil made it, he came up to us and said here’s my lucky ball, I want you guys to have it, thank you for coming,” Josh said.

“…We were so in the moment that we didn’t even notice that Kyler had dropped the ball. Phil turned around and picked it back up and set it on his lap.”

Kyler Aubrey, 28, has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair. At Kiawah, the sand is particularly hard for him to navigate – something they realized in 2012. The Aubreys had practice-round tickets to that PGA Championship there, and then lucked into tickets for the rest of the week, too. Statesboro is only a 2 ½-hour drive from the South Carolina coast.

“While we were going around the course we kept getting stuck,” Josh said. “David Feherty came up to us and said I notice you guys kept getting stuck – this was like Sunday afternoon – he said I want to give you this all-access pass, you can go anyway you want to on the golf course.”

Feherty’s generosity made a world of difference in traversing the difficult terrain. It also helped spark lifelong friendships. Roughly an hour before McIlroy closed out his win that year, Josh and Kyler were near the scoring tent.

“I was like, I wonder if we can go up in here,” Josh remembered thinking. “We went in there and they let us through and all the golfers that finished would walk right by us.”

The Aubreys had spoken with Graeme McDowell in a practice round early week, and when McDowell saw them sitting there on Sunday, he joined them to chat with Kyler for nearly an hour. McDowell then introduced the family to Rory McIlroy.

Through the years, the Aubreys have maintained those friendships as they’ve attended Tour events all around the Southeast like the Players Championship, the Tour Championship. McIlroy always seeks out Kyler to catch up, Josh says, and the Aubreys have stayed at McDowell’s house a couple of times while attending the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

Rory McIlroy and Kyler Aubrey
Rory McIlroy and Kyler Aubrey at the 2012 PGA Championship. (Aubrey family photo)

A few years ago, Rickie Fowler, who has also become a friend, approached the Aubreys on the back of the practice range at Bay Hill and, when he found out they didn’t have Masters tickets for that year, got them tickets for the whole week.

Statesboro is also only an hour and a half from Augusta, so Kyler and Josh have frequently attended the Wednesday practice round at the Masters.

Kyler enjoys Wednesdays the most because it’s when he can interact with the players he’s developed relationships with through the years. He has been a golf fan since he was just a little boy, when Josh used to take him to the golf course and bungee his car seat into the golf cart while he played. Kyler loved to watch.

“When he was little, like 2 or 3 years old, he would get over to the TV and change the channel to the Golf Channel. Instead of watching cartoons, he was watching the Golf Channel,” Josh said.

Tiger Woods was just gaining in popularity about that time, and the Aubreys attended the Tour event in Hilton Head, South Carolina, in 1999 – the only year Woods played the event.

“Kyler was 6 when that happened, when he played,” Josh said. “That just kind of took it to a new level and then that’s all he wanted to do.”

Kyler Aubrey and Tiger Woods
Kyler Aubrey and Tiger Woods at the 2011 Players Championship. (Aubrey family photo)

Kyler’s younger sister Sloane, 19, also loves golf. She has played since the sixth grade, and continues to play, though not collegiately. Sunday at the PGA Championship was particularly special because Sloane was with the boys, too.

When Kyler was 22 and Sloane was 12, their brother Jordan, 17, died in a car accident. That’s when Kyler and Sloane grew closer. Golf has always brought the family together. The PGA Championship, however, marked the first time in nearly two years the Aubreys had gotten to be fans because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a tournament, Kyler is always an easy person for Tour players to spot.

“People would see him and he’s always in a good mood, he loves being out there, he’s always got a big smile and he always wants to give those guys hugs,” Josh said.

“I think that’s what he likes so much about golf is they’ll interact with him.”

Kyler brightens their day, just as they brighten his.

Phil Mickelson and Kyler Aubrey
Phil Mickelson and Kyler Aubrey at a previous PGA Tour event. (Aubrey family photo)

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Brooks Koepka overcomes wild crowd on 18, but not Phil Mickelson at PGA Championship

With the out-of-control crowd storming The Ocean Course, Brooks Koepka was thinking more about his health on the 18th hole.

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. — Brooks Koepka knew his chances at a fifth major had vanished and now he was in survival mode on the 18th fairway Sunday at the PGA Championship.

With security being overwhelmed and the out-of-control crowd storming The Ocean Course, Koepka was thinking more about his health than hanging onto second place as he tried to protect a right knee what was surgically repaired just two months ago.

Koepka managed to break through the crowd after being bumped in the knee a few times and seeing his caddie, Ricky Elliott, getting “drilled” in the face. He completed his par for a 74 and a share of second place, two shots behind Phil Mickelson.

“It would have been cool if I didn’t have a knee injury and got dinged a few times in the knee in that crowd because no one really gave a s–t, personally,” Koepka said.

PGA Championship: Scores | Photos | Money | Winner’s bag

The physical pain of the knee being banged around, Koepka will overcome. He’s proven over and over again he’s just different and gritty when it comes to dealing with adversity and challenges inside and outside the ropes.

The mental part of knowing how close he came to winning despite a dreadful week putting, that will be a bigger chore.

“I’m super disappointed, pretty bummed,” he said. “I’m not happy. I don’t know if there’s a right word I can say here without getting fined, but it hurts a little bit. It’s one of those things where I just never felt comfortable over the putts. I don’t know why, what happened.”

Koepka liked his chances entering the day one shot behind leader Mickelson. Always does when he’s in contention in a major on a Sunday, even though it does not always work out. He liked them even more after one hole, when a two-shot swing gave him his first outright lead of the tournament.

But that was the high-water point for the four-time major winner. A double-bogey and three-shot swing on No. 2 started a wild ride that, during one stretch, had him navigating several of the waste areas on the windswept course.

Koepka finished with a 4-under 284, tied for second with South African Luis Oosthuizen. His disappointment, though, should be cushioned when he steps back and realizes what he accomplished having played for just the third time in three months and still unable to squat naturally following surgery to reattach a ligament in his knee.

Koepka’s dominance in majors since his first, four years ago in the U.S. Open, goes beyond hoisting the trophy. He now has 14 career top 10s in majors, including three second-place finishes. Koepka admits something stirs inside him when it comes to majors. But with that comes more hurt and bigger disappointment when he lets one slip away.

“Maybe that’s down the line,” he said about actually feeling good about the week and jumping six spots in the Official World Golf Ranking to No. 7.

This is the second consecutive Sunday at the PGA Championship in which Koepka faltered. A year ago, as the two-time defending champion, he entered the final round at Harding Park two shots off the lead and finished with the second-highest score of the day (74) that dropped him into a tie for 29th.

Koepka’s undoing this year started on the second hole when he had to lay up out of the bunker and then needed two shots to get out of the rough. But it got worse during a seven-hole stretch starting at No. 7 when he hit one of the six fairways and made four bogeys.

Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka watches his tee shot on the 9th hole during the final round of the PGA Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Koepka started the stretch tied for the lead at 6-under. He ended it five shots behind and essentially out of contention. He did make a run, with birdies on two of his final four holes, but it was much too late.

Still, that was significant considering it got him back to second.

Koepka has now had a front-row seat for the two most dramatic and memorable majors.

Two years ago, he paused play at least once on his back nine of the Masters to take a peek at Tiger Woods, as Tiger was completing his stunning victory. Koepka finished tied for second on that day, too.

Mickelson’s win Sunday was as historic. No one over 50 had ever won a major until Sunday. For Mickelson, who turns 51 in a little more than three weeks, this is his sixth major, first in eight years.

And the crowd was as energized and partisan this Sunday as it was that rainy day at Augusta, even more so turning that 18th fairway into a Miami Beach rave. The most famous storming of the course before Sunday was in 2018 when the crowd surrounded Tiger on the 18th fairway during the Tour Championship.

For Koepka, it was a surreal moment he actually would have somewhat enjoyed if not for having to protect his body.

“I’ve never had something like that,” Mickelson said. “It was a little bit unnerving but it was exceptionally awesome, too.”

Koepka would agree with part of that.

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How much money each player won at the PGA Championship

It pays to play well in major championships. Just ask Phil Mickelson.

It pays to play well in major championships, folks. Just ask this week’s winner, Phil Mickelson.

The 50-year-old won the 103rd PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s Ocean Course at 6 under by two shots, earning his sixth major championship victory while also becoming the oldest men’s major champion in golf history. Mickelson will turn 51 the week of the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in his hometown of San Diego.

Mickelson will take home the famed Wanamaker Trophy, as well as the top prize of $2,160,000 ($180,000 more than Collin Morikawa last year). Runners-up Louis Oosthuizen and Brooks Koepka will each pocket $1,056,000.

Check out how much money each player earned this week at the PGA Championship.

PGA Championship: Leaderboard | Photos

Position Player Score  Earnings
1 Phil Mickelson -6 $2,160,000
T2 Louis Oosthuizen -4 $1,056,000
T2 Brooks Koepka -4 $1,056,000
T4 Padraig Harrington -2 $462,250
T4 Shane Lowry -2 $462,250
T4 Harry Higgs -2 $462,250
T4 Paul Casey -2 $462,250
T8 Abraham Ancer -1 $263,000
T8 Justin Rose -1 $263,000
T8 Collin Morikawa -1 $263,000
T8 Jon Rahm -1 $263,000
T8 Will Zalatoris -1 $263,000
T8 Scottie Scheffler -1 $263,000
T8 Tony Finau -1 $263,000
T8 Rickie Fowler -1 $263,000
T8 Kevin Streelman -1 $263,000
T17 Aaron Wise E $168,000
T17 Patrick Reed E $168,000
T17 Charley Hoffman E $168,000
T17 Keegan Bradley E $168,000
T17 Corey Conners E $168,000
T17 Sungjae Im E $168,000
T23 Chan Kim 1 $103,814
T23 Jason Scrivener 1 $103,814
T23 Martin Laird 1 $103,814
T23 Hideki Matsuyama 1 $103,814
T23 Billy Horschel 1 $103,814
T23 Matt Fitzpatrick 1 $103,814
T23 Patrick Cantlay 1 $103,814
T30 Matt Jones 2 $59,750
T30 Stewart Cink 2 $59,750
T30 Viktor Hovland 2 $59,750
T30 Webb Simpson 2 $59,750
T30 Ian Poulter 2 $59,750
T30 Jordan Spieth 2 $59,750
T30 Joaquin Niemann 2 $59,750
T30 Christiaan Bezuidenhout 2 $59,750
T38 Emiliano Grillo 3 $42,000
T38 Tyrrell Hatton 3 $42,000
T38 Richy Werenski 3 $42,000
T38 Gary Woodland 3 $42,000
T38 Bryson DeChambeau 3 $42,000
T38 Branden Grace 3 $42,000
T44 Jason Day 4 $31,300
T44 Daniel van Tonder 4 $31,300
T44 Talor Gooch 4 $31,300
T44 Ben Cook 4 $31,300
T44 Steve Stricker 4 $31,300
T49 Byeong-Hun An 5 $24,950
T49 Sam Horsfield 5 $24,950
T49 Rory McIlroy 5 $24,950
T49 Robert MacIntyre 5 $24,950
T49 Harold Varner III 5 $24,950
T49 Jason Kokrak 5 $24,950
T55 Matt Wallace 6 $22,475
T55 Alex Noren 6 $22,475
T55 Carlos Ortiz 6 $22,475
T55 Joel Dahmen 6 $22,475
T59 Robert Streb 7 $21,400
T59 Cameron Davis 7 $21,400
T59 Dean Burmester 7 $21,400
T59 Denny McCarthy 7 $21,400
T59 Cameron Smith 7 $21,400
T64 Garrick Higgo 8 $20,200
T64 Henrik Stenson 8 $20,200
T64 Adam Hadwin 8 $20,200
T64 Harris English 8 $20,200
T64 Tom Hoge 8 $20,200
T64 Jimmy Walker 8 $20,200
T64 Danny Willett 8 $20,200
T71 Lucas Herbert 9 $19,350
T71 Russell Henley 9 $19,350
T71 Tom Lewis 9 $19,350
T71 Lee Westwood 9 $19,350
T75 Daniel Berger 10 $19,050
T75 Wyndham Clark 10 $19,050
77 Brendan Steele 11 $18,900
78 Brad Marek 12 $18,800
79 Rasmus Hojgaard 13 $18,700
80 Bubba Watson 14 $18,600
81 Brian Gay 18 $18,500

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Lynch: This PGA Championship was a test of cunning, so it’s no shock that Phil Mickelson was last man standing

The 103rd PGA Championship was one to be navigated rather than overpowered, so it should be no surprise who was the last man standing.

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – For superstitious types, it might have seemed ominous that Sunday was a good day for the two men who were spoilers when guys in their 50s previously led major championships entering the final round.

Padraig Harrington, only a few months shy of the half-century himself, shot 69 and finished T-4, while Stewart Cink carded two eagles in a 69 of his own. In long-ago Open Championships, Harrington and Cink ran down, respectively, Greg Norman and Tom Watson. Norman was 53 when he led by two at Royal Birkdale in ’08 and Watson almost 60 when he carried a one-stroke advantage the following year at Turnberry.

Considering the outcome in both instances, one would be forgiven for assuming that seniors leading majors are like dogs chasing cars—you admire the tenacity, but know it won’t end well. That was the undercurrent Sunday at The Ocean Course when Phil Mickelson, a month shy of his 51st birthday, took a one-stroke lead into the final round of the PGA Championship, achingly close to a sixth major win and the distinction of being the oldest ever (by three years) to claim one of the game’s most important titles.

Yet what separated Mickelson from Norman and Watson was frailty. They had too much of it to outlast their pursuers, he had too little of it to encourage his. Mickelson’s paperwork might say 50, but his swing, his attitude and his confidence belie the years.

It’s no coincidence that all three majors in which the 54-hole leaders had AARP cards were played on golf courses that reward the attributes that come with age. The Ocean Course isn’t a links in the literal design sense, but the demands it makes of players are identical to those celebrated courses just beyond the eastern horizon: patience, acceptance, stoicism, resilience.

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson and caddie Tim Mickelson walks though the crowd of fans on the 18th hole during the final round of the PGA Championship golf tournament. Photo by Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Mickelson hasn’t always exhibited the first of those traits, but the gut punches he has absorbed over the years are testament to his familiarity with the other three.

On Sunday, I asked Harrington if he approached that final round at Birkdale thinking Norman’s age, and the knowledge that it was the last shot in his chamber, made him more fragile. He said that he tried to block out the feel-good story being peddled of Greg on his honeymoon with Chris Evert and rediscovering the elixir of youth. “I just did not want to buy into that sympathy, you know?”

It’s unlikely Mickelson’s chasers on Sunday were susceptible to sympathy. He is as polarizing as he is popular, whether in living rooms or locker rooms. But Harrington continued with an astute observation about the inflection point with pressure, and how it would serve rather than unsettle the old veteran.

“I think older players struggle until they get under pressure. It will help Phil that the tension is there,” he said. “It helps him focus and it helps him compete when he knows that the other guys are going to be feeling it, too.”

“Isn’t there a tipping point of pressure that you can only get to so much and after that it’s kind of just the same?” he added. “Anybody in the last group going out in a major is going to feel it, or the last couple of groups. Anybody who really thinks they can win on a Sunday is going to be feeling that pressure. I’d say Phil is full to capacity, but that’s where he likes to live.”

And so it proved that nerves are not the exclusive burden of old men on major Sundays.

Koepka, his closest pursuer starting the day, faded to a dismal 74 and finished two back. Louis Oosthuizen found his customary Sunday gear: neutral. And whatever charges that were mounted came from too far behind to have an impact.

Koepka will chalk his day up to poor play rather than admit to nerves. But for all his swagger, he is not immune to jitters. At the ’19 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black, he frittered a seven-shot lead down to one but survived when Dustin Johnson wobbled. Koepka is less than two months removed from knee surgery and six months from the timeline his surgeon gave him to be healthy. In that context, he ought to leave Kiawah Island feeling bullish about his performance. But he won’t. It’s not in him to look at T-2 as anything less than failure. It’s why he owns four of these things himself.

Mickelson’s six majors—three Masters, two PGAs and an improbable Open Championship at age 43—are monuments to his brilliance and longevity, but the accounting of those that got away is relevant too. His 10 seconds and 6 thirds are evidence of the resilience that has kept Mickelson fighting at the front long after his contemporaries moved on to trade war stories in Champions tour pro-ams and TV booths.

The 103rd PGA Championship was one to be navigated rather than overpowered, so it should be no surprise that the most cunning of them all was the last man standing. Nor should we assume it was his last stand. Because you can be assured that Mickelson doesn’t think so.

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Tiger Woods congratulates Phil Mickelson on PGA Championship win: ‘Truly inspirational’

Tiger Woods congratulated his longtime competitor shortly after his record-setting PGA Championship win.

It may be quite some time before golf fans are able to witness what took place during Sunday’s final round of the PGA Championship.

At 50-years-old, just weeks before turning 51, Phil Mickelson set a record as the oldest men’s major champion with his sixth major victory. The previous mark, set by a 48-year-old Julius Boros at the 1968 PGA Championship, stood untouched for 53 years.

That caught the attention of 15-time major champion Tiger Woods, who took to Twitter shortly after Mickelson’s win at Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s Ocean Course in South Carolina to congratulate his longtime competitor on the PGA Tour.

PGA Championship: Leaderboard | Winner’s BagPhotos

Woods has been recovering at his home in Florida since March following a scary accident in Los Angeles in February.

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Winner’s Bag: Phil Mickelson, 2021 PGA Championship

Check out the clubs Lefty used to win the 2021 PGA Championship.

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As he often does, Phil Mickelson made adjustments to his equipment setup during the PGA Championship. On Sunday, he cracked the face of his TaylorMade “Original One” Mini Driver, but replaced it with a backup. he also replaced a Callaway X-Forged UT 3-iron with a Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero 4-wood.

Here is a complete list of the golf equipment Phil Mickelson used Sunday to win the 2021 PGA Championship:

DRIVER: Callaway Epic Speed (6 degrees adjusted to 5.5), with Fujikura Ventus Black 6 TX shaft

FAIRWAY WOOD: TaylorMade “Original One” Mini Driver (11.5 degrees), with Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X shaft, Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (17 degrees), with Fujikura Ventus Blue 8 X shaft

IRONS: Callaway X-Forged UT (4-5), Apex MB (6-PW), with KBS Tour V 125 S+ shafts

WEDGES: Callaway PM Grind Raw (52, 56, 60 degrees), with KBS Tour-V 125 S+ shafts

PUTTER: Odyssey Phil Mickelson White Hot XG blade prototype

BALL: Callaway Chrome Soft X with Triple Track

GRIPS: Golf Pride MCC (full swing) / SuperStroke PistolGT Tour CounterCore (putter)

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