When Jordan Spieth was in grade college, he adopted Phil Mickelson at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. A number of years later, he received an autographed copy of Phil Mickelson gracing the cowl of Sports Illustrated after sinking the profitable putt at the 2004 Masters, his first main title. Somehow, 17 years later, Mickelson made historical past once more, claiming his sixth main at the 103rd PGA Championship and changing into the oldest main champion at practically 51 years of age.
“I thought it would be very, very difficult. He hadn’t been in contention in quite a while on the PGA Tour against the guys he was in contention with, right?” Spieth mentioned. “It’s just so difficult to be in contention for the first time in a while and be able to tap into that confidence that you’re supposed to be there and you’re supposed to win.”
Spieth, who ended his personal three-year winless drought in April at the Valero Texas Open, struggled the first few occasions he was in a position to get again into rivalry. He mentioned Mickelson’s success on the PGA Tour Champions, the place he received twice final 12 months, might have served him nicely.
“It seems like all the great ones have that one left at the end, and I know he’ll probably tell you, maybe he thinks he’s got more than one left. I don’t think anybody will doubt him after this one, but I think it’s just wild. I think it’s incredible,” Spieth mentioned.
So does seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, who teamed with Mickelson final 12 months in The Match: Champions for Charity towards Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning.
“He’s so committed and such a great athlete, it’s a pleasure to see him compete,” the 43-year-old Brady wrote Saturday in a textual content message to the Los Angeles Times. “His love of the game is inspiring for us all and he is always looking for ways to improve mentally, physically and emotionally! Just great to watch.”
Count Spieth amongst those that marvel at Mickelson’s longevity.
“His streak of not being outside the top 50 in the world for however long that was is going to be a very difficult task for anybody going forward to match. And then to win a tournament, let alone a major championship, at 50 with how young and stacked the game has gotten is just an incredible feat,” he mentioned. “I think the way he handled Saturday and Sunday, when he did make mistakes, especially on the back nine on Saturday, to then close that back out and remain in the lead, it was typical Phil.
“There was going to be some excitement, and when he got in trouble, he got out of it… if you do get into trouble, there’s no one else you’d rather have hitting that shot from a tough spot around the greens, and I think that kind of scrambling and making some putts early in that tournament was a difference maker for him.”
An uncharacteristically chilly putter doomed Spieth’s pursuit of the Wanamaker Trophy at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina, however Colonial ranks proper alongside Augusta National as a spot the place Spieth at all times thrived, regardless of the state of his recreation.
“It’s just been kind of one, from 2013 I just really love being out here,” he mentioned. “I like the shape of the holes, and I like kind of the mixture of the wedge opportunities with some of those par 3s in that horrible horseshoe, all those three holes, where you really just kind of hold on for a little bit in the beginning of the round and you can go take advantage.”
And it may very well be the good place for Spieth to rediscover his magic contact on the greens.
“Probably my greatest strength in the game of golf is green reading and speed control,” he mentioned. “I’ve putted these greens historically very well, that’s number one. I’ve had a knack for reading and dialing in the speed out here… Hopefully, just being on greens that I’ve seen putts go in before, having similar putts and just being confident in the reads will be something that will really be helpful this week.”
The 27-year-old Dallas native has racked up three top-10s in the state of Texas in the previous two months, a listing highlighted by his twelfth profession Tour title at the Valero Texas Open to go together with a T-9 at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin and a T-9 at the AT&T Byron Nelson two weeks in the past.
But his confidence at Colonial, which comes from a victory in 2016, a pair of runner-ups (2015 and ’17) and a T-10 end final 12 months, can solely take him thus far.
“I’ve got to get to where I’m stroking it well or else it doesn’t really matter,” he mentioned of his placing.
Spieth tees off Thursday in a single of the featured teams with Mickelson and defending champion Daniel Berger at 2:06 p.m. ET.