Phil Mickelson Defies Odds, Wins PGA Championship

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Okay, raise your hand if you had Phil Mickelson, at an astronomical +20000 (if not higher at some sportsbooks), to win the PGA Championship.

No hands? That’s what we thought.

And now all we can say is: Never count out great players, no matter the odds.

And this wasn’t the first time a major has been won by someone at astronomical numbers. Louie Oosthuizen won the 2010 Open Championship, also around +20000.

Which brings us back to Mickelson. It’s not like he was trending in the right direction before this past weekend and we should have seen this impressive victory coming. He wasn’t and we didn’t.

Old Dog, New Tricks

Mickelson, now 50-plus, has spent some time on the PGA Tour Champions circuit with great success.

But he’s also continued to try to keep up with the young crowd on the PGA Tour. He’s had mixed success…to say the least.

He won the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Open Championship in 2013 (his fifth and most recent major).

Then he fell off the victory radar for five years as his next win came at the WGC Championships in Mexico in 2018. He also won in 2019 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am.

He went through 2020 with a second and a third in nine made cuts.

But in 2021 the bottom had been falling out early and often. Emphasis on ‘had been.’

He had just one top-10 finish in nine made cuts (to go along with six missed cuts). He was even questioning his own drive and productivity.

But apparently something clicked recently and Mickelson won his sixth major and at the same time became the oldest player to win a major.

It just goes to show that on any given week at any given tournament by any given player, lightning can strike.

Defying The Odds

It happened when Tiger Woods won the Masters two years ago and it happened again this past week with Mickelson hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy. All it takes is a few good breaks. Or maybe many good breaks. Add in a few made putts, a hole-out or two and a faltering group of players right behind and you’ve got the recipe for a victory for the ages…or at least the aged.

Not only did Mickelson defy the odds of winning the tournament, he defied a few other betting numbers as well.

FanDuel, after Mickelson had an up-and-down front nine during the first round, had him as high as +42000. And even though he had the lead heading into the final round, he wasn’t the favorite on Sunday. He was, again, as high as +600 after Koepka took a one-stroke lead after the first hole.

And a few of the sportsbooks even had him at a plus to even make the cut before the start of the tournament.

This week there was plenty of money to be made on Mickelson.

All people needed to do was pull the trigger on those bets. Don’t feel bad, you weren’t alone.

But there were enough winners that the sportsbooks felt the pain with several reporting losses closing in on seven figures.

Now we’ve got a couple of weeks before the third major of the season–the U.S. Open.

It’s the tournament Mickelson needs to win to complete the grand slam. And one other tidbit to consider is the tournament is being held in his backyard at Torrey Pines.

Can he make it two majors in a row? It’s a good bet he will get a little more backing (and at lower odds as he’s at +5000 at DraftKings, BetMGM, and at FanDuel as of Monday) heading into this major.

About the Author

Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 18-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas including 10 years as a writer/editor with VegasGolfer Magazine. He also contributes to the GolfNow Network of websites and Las Vegas Golf Insider.

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