For the most part, the professional golfer who has spent the better part of 30 years allowing fans to come along on his wild journey through the major championships hid his emotions behind a pair of oversize sunglasses. His steps across the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island were measured, at times even glacially slow. When the CBS cameras caught him between shots, he was often stone-faced, drawing purposefully deep breaths.
But now and then, 50-year-old Phil Mickelson broke slightly from the focus that had carried him to a most improbable lead in the PGA Championship and gave his signature thumbs-up to the galleries that were growing behind him.
And then, as he emerged from a wall of humanity that had formed on the 18th fairway and saw that he was an easy two-putt from winning the tournament, three fist pumps went skyward.
That’s what it looks like when an old man puts it together one last time, at a moment when there was nothing to suggest it was coming. That’s what it looks like when the gates of history open and a living legend has the talent and belief to walk through. That’s what it looks like when golf — the only sport where this is really possible — grants us the opportunity to see something so many enjoyed for so many years but never expected to see again.
Phil Mickelson, a major champion for the sixth time and the oldest to ever do it.
Seriously, how did this happen? And how lucky are we to be able to see it?