Phil Mickelson became the oldest player to win a major golf tournament when he captured the PGA Championship at age 50.
He said he’s learned a lot from watching his golfing buddy, Bucs quarterback Tom Brady, who became the oldest player to win a Super Bowl at age 43.
Brady’s ability to excel well past the age of any professional quarterback has inspired Mickelson, who has watched the seven-time Super Bowl champion spend hours preparing his body before competition and use recovery techniques to lengthen his career.
“When we would go play at Augusta and we’d stay at the cottages, he would be up hours before we played at the gym and he’d do a bunch of band work for an hour just getting his shoulders and his hips and his knees and everything fired and activated,” Mickelson said Monday from the U.S. Open in Torrey Pines, California.
“He’s very disciplined in what he eats and recovery and taking the time to do the right things after the round and so forth. It’s inspiring to see because you see somebody do it and do something he’s doing, which is play football at the highest level at an age that really no one else has ever done it, it’s inspiring and it’s motivating and when you see it happen, it’s much easier to do.”
Mickelson and Brady were partners in The Match: Champions for Charity at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida, last May. They lost one up to Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning.
Brady struggled mightily on the front nine that day but pulled it together on the back nine, holing a wedge shot on the seventh hole.
“He played really well on the back nine, and when we’ve played, he’s played a lot better than you saw on the front,” Mickelson said.
“He hadn’t been playing at the time and so his game wasn’t sharp and he just didn’t quite have it that day and it almost made him more human because he excels at everything he does. ... And then on the back nine, he kind of clutched up and played and hit some shots and we made a good move at it and ended up losing one up. But the way he can kind of slow down and then process it and start to perform is a trait that you learn from him.”
Brady, as you might expect, has nothing but praise for Mickelson’s accomplishments.
“He’s so committed and such a great athlete,” Brady said in a text to the Los Angeles Times. “It’s a pleasure to see him compete. His love of the game is inspiring to us all and he is always looking for ways to improve mentally, physically and emotionally!”
Mickelson and Brady will team up again, this time against Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Bryson DeChambeau, for the Match on July 6 at Moonlight Basin in Big Sky, Mont.
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