July 22 2013
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM staff
Phil Mickelson won the fifth major of his career at The Open Championship at Muirfield on Sunday. That moves him 3/4ths of the way to a career Grand Slam, with his first crack at it next June at the U.S. Open (read Monday Backspin for more).
Of course, there's a lot of golf to be played between now and then, and Mickelson enters the final two months of the 2013 PGA TOUR season in position to accomplish several things he's never done before in his World Golf Hall of Fame career, such as:
Win the FedExCup. Mickelson moved into second place behind Tiger Woods in the FedExCup standings with his victory Sunday. Woods has won two of the previous six FedExCup titles; Mickelson's highest finish after the FedExCup Playoffs was second to Woods in 2009. Given his current form, hard to imagine Mickelson won't be in the mix at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, which he won in 2009.
Win the Jack Nicklaus Award for PGA TOUR Player of the Year. The award is based on balloting by PGA TOUR players. Woods has four wins, including THE PLAYERS Championship. Mickelson and Matt Kuchar, the only other multiple winners thus far, have two wins apiece. Mickelson is the only one of those three with a major win.
Win two majors in one year. The PGA Championship is in three weeks at Oak Hill, and Mickelson will enter as one of the favorites. In 2004 when Mickelson won his first major, the Masters, he followed with a tie for second at the U.S. Open, a third at The Open Championship and a tie for sixth at the PGA Championship. The last multiple major winner in a single season was Padraig Harrington in 2008 when he won The Open Championship and the PGA Championship.
Win the Arnold Palmer Award as the TOUR's leading money winner. Mickelson currently trails Woods by just under $1.3 million on the money list. Much like his U.S. Open record, Mickelson's best results on the money list are multiple runner-up finishes -- five to be exact. Oh, and he also ranks second on the all-time money list to Woods.
Win the Byron Nelson Award for lowest scoring average. Mickelson currently ranks seventh, moving up three spots after The Open Championship. His scoring average of 69.662 is 0.675 higher than Woods, who leads the list. That might be too much ground to make up, and he might have too many others to climb past, but Mickelson is trending in the right direction. Another 60 like he had at the Waste Management Phoenix Open would help. Should he win the Byron Nelson Award, he'd likely win the PGA of America's Vardon Trophy too.
So which one do you think Mickelson has the best chance of accomplishing in the next two months? Fill out the form below and let us know.