When it comes to golf, is 50 the new 40? According to World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman, the answer is “100 percent, yes!”
Phil Mickelson is the latest golfer out to prove that age is just a number. At 49 years old, Phil began his 2020 season at this week’s American Express in the California desert but has an uphill climb ahead of him.
After winning the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am last February, Lefty hasn’t had a top-20 finish on the PGA Tour since the Masters in April. Despite those numbers, Mickelson has been adamant about still being able to compete.
But can he win?
“If you follow Phil Mickelson on social media, the answer to that is yes,” says Norman.
“He’s done a tremendous job of revamping his body, losing weight, working out, and identified the fact that he’s picked up 5-6 miles per hour of clubhead speed at 49 going on 50 years old, which is extremely impressive. Fifty is now the new 40 and 40 is the new 30 with the new fitness approach guys have taken.”
The “new” fitness approach may have started with Norman himself, who at age 64 doesn’t look a day older than 44.
Norman was the picture of health and fitness throughout his playing days, and in 2008 at the age of 53 nearly won the Open Championship. After leading the British with nine holes to play, Norman ended up finishing third behind eventual champion Padraig Harrington.
The two-time major winner says at some point, a player in his fifties will win a major championship
“I believe it will be done,” he says.
“Tom Watson was a great example of that. If you keep your body and mind in a good state it can happen. Technology is gonna be a benefactor to you as you get older.”
As for Mickelson, his first chance at winning a major at fifty years old will come in June at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. Mickelson will celebrate his birthday, in search of the elusive U.S. Open title, at the site of his most infamous Open meltdown. Is the script written for Phil to win the Open at 50?
“I wouldn’t doubt it,” says Norman. “Maybe Phil Mickelson, but if not somebody in their 50s will win a major.”