Thirty years ago, at age 46, Jack Nicklaus needed only 30 strokes to tear through the back nine at Augusta National and win the Masters for the sixth time. It was his 18th major victory and his last PGA Tour win.
The Golden Bear was a great champion, but he was an unexpected one that year after a first-round 74. His win in the 1986 Masters came six years after his previous major championship, nearly two years after his last victory anywhere.
Vijay Singh was 41 when he won the 2004 PGA Championship, the last time anyone older than 40 won a major. The last major winner who was 45 or older was Hale Irwin, who won the 1990 U.S. Open. Only six 40-somethings have won at Augusta.
So we’re due for the over-45 crowd to make a charge. The leading candidate from an age group that includes Angel Cabrera (46) and Ernie Els (46) is the people’s champion, Phil Mickelson. Lefty, a three-time Masters winner, turns 46 in June.
You never know what to expect when he’s in contention.