Ageless Classic Golf Swinger Phil Mickelson Wins A Major At 50

phil at topIf you’re looking for longevity & a career that isn’t constantly derailed or even ended prematurely by injury, do yourself a favor if you’re swinging in the Modern Golf Swing style – take Phil Mickelson’s advice & switch to a Classic Model.

Phil yesterday only became the oldest male golfer to win a Major, taking the 2021 PGA Championship, and it’s not a surprise that he did it with a Classic Golf Swing action.

Remember that 60 year old Tom Watson nearly won the Open Championship in ’09 with the same Classic Golf Swing action he won all those majors with on Tour.

The evidence is there for anyone who wishes to look. 

Phil is someone in a small group during the Modern Era who has swung mostly in the Classic style (he, like Vijay Singh in his senior Tour days, has experimented with Modern principles but only has had any success when swinging Classic).

I’ve pointed this out as in this posting when Phil had tinkered with Modern, then went back to a Classic model and won a Tour event at 47.

He was still singing the praises of the Classic Golf Swing two years later when he called it “Genius.”

Let’s take a look at Phil’s swing action down the line with a driver, and I chose a swing where he’s wearing shorts so you can see the lower body action clearly:

phil driver


  • Look at that free hip movement as Phil takes the club back,
  • With the turning hips, the pressure goes to the trailing foot,
  • The leading leg swings inward at the knee, the “Swinging Gate,” 
  • Leading leg pressure to the ball & instep of the foot,
  • Leveraging the club down into the impact zone using the shift of pressure back to the leading foot
  • Even a tiny “short-stop slide” releasing the trail foot into the finish (could get more slide as there is some hang-back on the trail foot at the finish).

Beautiful MCS Swing action there, as we know MCS merely stands for “Mechanically-Correct Swing.”

I’ll leave you with what Phil had to say about the Modern Golf Swing in this interview he did with Golf Digest online when he hilariously said “Wrap the Modern Swing In A Back Brace.”

Said Phil then:

“You can play golf for a lifetime and injury-free if you swing the club like Bobby Jones did, like Ernest Jones used to teach — where it’s a swinging motion rather than a violent movement,” Mickelson said from Augusta.

“A lot of the young guys get hurt as they create this violent, connected movement, and I don’t believe that’s the proper way to swing the golf club.”

Mickelson said his freer move… is why he’s been able to play relatively injury-free into his mid-40s, and he worries about a generation of young players copying the aggressive lashes they see on tour telecasts.

There are two paths that golfers will take in the future – that of continuing to try to reinvent the wheel, with ever more preposterous & dangers ways to perform a back pivot without a free hip turn, and those who will learn how to swing a golf club with minimal risk of injury doing it the way the body is designed to move.

The greatest Modern Golf Swing player ever of course is Tiger Woods.  But Phil Mickelson’s career can only serve to illustrate just how long one can play without major injury swinging properly versus having to rebuild one’s back and knees due to not swinging properly.

Imagine how many majors Tiger would have now at 45 if he hadn’t lost all of the years between 2008 and now just recovering from surgeries and either not playing at all or well below his ability to due to physical ailments.

As I said, the evidence is there!

 

15 thoughts on “Ageless Classic Golf Swinger Phil Mickelson Wins A Major At 50

  1. Pete Covell

    And Phil bombed the longest drive at 16: 366 yards. Did have some wind help, but still, put the young wippersnappers to shame. Such a beautiful swing. BTW, I have been working through your videos and starting to see improvement as I work my way out of some bad habits. Still struggle hanging back some on the rear foot.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Agree with all you say, Pete. It’s a beautiful, timeless swing that the youngsters should be looking at instead of the “how to break your back” swing analyses I’m always seeing.

      Great to hear you’re making progress with your MCS!

      If you’re having issues with hanging back, it is either a bad habit you’ve acquired not wanting to release that trailing foot or perhaps ball placement – when my ball placement was off, I would tend to hang back through impact in order to make solid contact.

      Another thing to check is your stance width – too wide and you’ll have trouble getting fully into the leading foot through impact & to the finish.

      Just a couple of thoughts! 🙂

    2. Adam Tarbaux

      That goes to show how powerful the classic swing is. Hell a 60+ year old Mike Austin average distance was 350 sometimes 400, and of course a 515 monster.

      1. D Watts Post author

        You don’t even half to look any further than the Tour itself, Adam!

        Vijay Singh, Bubba Watson, Phil, John Daly… all Classic swingers with multiple majors and three of these four still playing and hitting it long while over 50.

        It’s the proper way to do it (hips & legs powering the pivot & downswing), any other way isn’t worth the injury risk plus the endless practice required to maintain a faulty action.

          1. D Watts Post author

            My goodness, Adam – I forgot the prime example – Bryson DeChambeau, who went from being a not-very-long modern swinger to bashing the ball to hell, after he switched to a Classic Swing action!

  2. Mark Cartner

    Just knew I’d be able to come here today to hear you singing Phil’s praises. I was thinking the same things as I watched him effortlessly bombing it farther than the 20-years-younger and oft-injured Koepka.

    The classic method just strikes me as the more naturally athletic way to swing a club. These young guys seem to mistake violence for athleticism/power. Phil may have other quirks to his technique that affect his consistency, but his unrestricted movements ought to keep him healthy and powerful for years to come.

    I’m reading today that 50 is the new 40 in golf. They’re wrong. They should simply admit the old classic swing is still the best swing–no matter what your age.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Correct on all points Mark.

      The classic method strikes you the way it does because it’s the only way to swing a golf club properly. You can certainly do it other ways and still play golf, but if it isn’t creating power & leverage with the lower body, one puts oneself at a disadvantage. And a higher risk of injury.

      Phil certainly has idiosyncrasies in his own swing as you mention, but that is just the variation you get with individuals swinging. You have the optimal model without idiosyncrasies and the closer you get to it, the better you’ll swing.

      Suffice to say Phil’s pretty darned close to the theoretical model.

      People want a mystery to unravel, but there isn’t one. The mystery is why everyone isn’t swinging Classic.

      As with the Fosbury Flop in high jump, the technique is the technique to use.

      Once the wheel was invented, you couldn’t improve the shape.

      1. Mark Cartner

        Interesting you mention the flop. As an old track man I have great admiration for T&F athletes. They are the epitome of mechanically correct athletic movements. Watch a world class sprinter race the fastest footballer and the difference is stunning. Justin Gatlin is gray-haired, almost 40, and still running sub-10 second 100s.

        1. D Watts Post author

          Please don’t get me started on T&F and technique Mark! 😂

          I was a basketball & track fanatic in high school.

          When I competed in both, I obsessed on technique (free throws, jump shooting in bball, sprinting & LJ in track), and can proudly say I fared far better in track than I had any business doing due to that technical base.

          I took the same mindset to the golf swing – when you’ve competed in other sports, you know the body and its parts have a range of motion from optimal to just plain wrong.

          Once you establish that twisting the lower back to get a shoulder turn is absolutely insane, because not only would no other sport advocate this but that it would get you thrown out of any sports training facility except golf, you know where the problem is!

          1. Mark Cartner

            Haha. Yeah, better not to go down that rabbit hole. We’d have to start a whole new blog just to talk about techniques for various disciplines.

  3. Mr. McJohn

    Phil has a really nice swing.

    I notice he’s really aggressive through the ball. Always was. I guess being him that makes sense, but would you say you can be more aggressive with a classic swing without losing accuracy?

    1. D Watts Post author

      Goes without saying MMJ. It’s a mechanically-correct action so one can swing aggressively without fear of injury or bad misses.

      Of course, unless one has a perfect swing action (and no one does), any deviation from that theoretical action will produce misses, and the harder one swings, the bigger the potential miss.

      The Modern Swing models are all unreliable for producing consistent power.

      TW is the best Modern Swing player ever and his misses at times were off the planet.

      And that injury risk thing.

      There is no reason to swing in the Modern style. It isn’t more powerful nor more accurate nor more consistent.

      The only reason anyone swings that way is either because they were taught it and/or because they refuse to try to learn a proper swing out of stubbornness or ignorance of proper mechanics.

Comments are closed.