Phil Mickelson's Wins in Major Championships

Phil Mickelson of the United States holds the Claret Jug after winning the 142nd Open Championship at Muirfield on July 21, 2013 in Gullane, Scotland

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It took Phil Mickelson a little longer than most fans—and Mickelson himself—believed it would for him to win his first major championship as a pro. But once he got that first one, Mickelson than added four more majors for a total (so far) of five.

That total ties him with, among others, Byron Nelson on the list of golfers with the most wins in majors. It's a great number for any pro golfer, and fits right in with Mickelson's 40-plus career wins in PGA Tour events.

Only five golfers have won all four of the major championships in their careers. Mickelson has won three, missing only the U.S. Open. (He has a record six runner-up finishes in the U.S. Open.) Mickelson is one of multiple golf giants who won three of the majors but did not (yet) complete the career Grand Slam.

1. Phil's First: 2004 Masters

Phil Mickelson jumps in the air after sinking his birdie putt to win the 2004 Masters
Phil Mickelson leaps into the air in celebration after the winning putt at the 2004 Masters. Andrew Redington/Getty Images

The "will Phil ever win a major?" chorus had been growing for several years by this time. Phil Mickelson had won dozens of times on the PGA Tour, but he had yet to win a major championship. He'd come close a few times, but never sealed the deal.

Until 2004 at The Masters, when Mickelson finally won his first major championship trophy.

He did it in fine style, too, making birdies on five of the final seven holes of the tournament. The first four birdies got him into a tie with Ernie Els, who was on the practice putting green, anticipating a playoff, when Mickelson teed off on the 72nd hole.

Mickelson's approach was good, his ball settling 18 feet from the cup. The slightly downhill putt snaked its way toward the hole, and dropped in. Mickelson leapt into the air, arms raised, legs akimbo, a look of joy on his face. Then he mouthed the words, "I did it!" to his caddie.

He did it, indeed: Phil Mickelson was finally a major championship winner.

Top 5 at the 2004 Masters
Phil Mickelson, 72-69-69-69—279
Ernie Els, 70-72-71-67—280
K.J. Choi, 71-70-72-69—282
Bernhard Langer, 71-73-69-72—285
Sergio Garcia, 72-72-75-66—285

2. 2005 PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson 2005 PGA Championship
Doug Pensinger / Getty Images

Major victory No. 2 for Phil Mickelson came in New Jersey at Baltusrol Golf Club in the PGA Championship. But he had to stay an extra day in Jersey to secure the victory.

Rain interrupted the final round on Sunday, forcing lengthy delays and finally causing the suspension of play. When play was called for the day, Tiger Woods was the clubhouse leader at 2-under. But six players were still on the course, including Phil Mickelson, who was at 4-under.

On Monday, after play resumed, Mickelson dropped a shot and into a tie with Thomas Bjorn and Steve Elkington. Mickelson ripped a drive on the final hole and his ball came to rest very close to a plaque in the fairway commemorating a shot hit by Jack Nicklaus during Nicklaus' 1967 U.S. Open victory at Baltusrol.

Mickelson walked over to the plaque, tapped it with his club, then went for the par-5 green in two. His fairway wood missed the green, instead finding deep rough. But Mickelson the short-game magician flopped his ball within a couple feet of the hole, made the putt for birdie, and won the tournament.

Top 5 at the 2005 PGA Championship
Phil Mickelson, 67-65-72-72—276
Thomas Bjorn, 71-71-63-72—277
Steve Elkington, 68-70-68-71—277
Davis Love III, 68-68-68-74—278
Tiger Woods, 75-69-66-68—278

3. 2006 Masters

Phil Mickelson 2006 Masters
The 2005 champ, Tiger Woods, puts the Green Jacket on Phil Mickelson. David Cannon / Getty Images

Mickelson's third major championship victory was also his second win at The Masters.

This one was a little less nerve-racking than the first, although by no means easy. A two-stroke victory in a major is close, and Mickelson performed under pressure throughout the round.

He was chased by a pretty good group, too: Second-round leader Chad Campbell; Fred Couples, who played with Mickelson in the final round, the two engaging in good-natured banter throughout the day; Tiger Woods, who shot 70 to Mickelson's 69 in the final round and finished tied for third.

The runner-up this year was Tim Clark, who finished two strokes back of Mickelson. But a hole-out on the 72nd hole by Clark made him appear more in the mix than he really was in the late-going.

For Mickelson, winning this title may have been made just a little sweeter by the fact that his rival Woods had to slip the Green Jacket onto Mickelson's shoulders in the post-tournament awards ceremony.

Top Finishers at the 2006 Masters
Phil Mickelson, 70-72-70-69—281
Tim Clark, 70-72-72-69—283
Chad Campbell, 71-67-75-71—284
Fred Couples, 71-70-72-71—284
Tiger Woods, 72-71-71-70—284
Retief Goosen, 70-73-72-69—284
Jose Maria Olazabal, 76-71-71-66—284

4. 2010 Masters

Phil Mickelson 2010 Masters Celebration
Phil Mickelson celebrates after sinking the final putt on the 72nd green of the 2010 Masters. David Cannon / Getty Images

The 2010 season opened with great promise for Mickelson, who ended the 2009 season with big wins at the Tour Championship and the WGC HSBC Champions in China. He was expected to carry over that success into the 2010 season.

But it didn't start out that way. Mickelson opened 2010 slowly, and going into The Masters many golf observers were wondering what was wrong with Phil. Answer: Nothing at all.

Taking advantage of the wider fairways and greater opportunities for recovery offered at Augusta National Golf Club, and relying on his own spectacular short game and a good week on the greens, Mickelson won the 2010 Masters by three over Lee Westwood.

Two things stand out about Mickelson's victory. One is the three-hole stretch in the third round, holes 13 through 15, in which Mickelson went eagle-eagle-birdie. The second is the approach to the par-5 13th that Mickelson played in the final round. Out of the trees, and off of the pine straw, Mickelson somehow got the ball to within several feet of the cup. He missed the eagle putt, but made birdie and went on to victory.

Mickelson also played through all of the hubbub regarding Tiger Woods' return to golf at this Masters, in addition to dealing with the emotions of having both his wife and mother undergoing cancer treatments. A great win for Phil, to be sure—his third in The Masters and his fourth major overall.

Top 5 at the 2010 Masters
Phil Mickelson, 67-71-67-67—272
Lee Westwood, 67-69-68-71—275
Anthony Kim, 68-70-73-65—276
K.J. Choi, 67-71-70-69—277
Tiger Woods, 68-70-70-69—277

5. 2013 British Open

Phil Mickelson Wins 2013 British Open
Phil Mickelson raises his arms in triumph after sinking a birdie putt on the final green at the 2013 British Open. Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Mickelson had won earlier in the PGA Tour season, and, in fact, won one week prior to the 2013 British Open at the European Tour's Scottish Open. That Scottish Open win was Mickelson's first-ever on a links golf course.

Could that signal that Mickelson was the man to beat at the Open Championship? As it turns out, nobody did beat Mickelson, and Lefty won his first British Open, his fifth overall major championship.

Mickelson's track record at the Open prior to this was not good. He missed the cut in 2012, and over his career had twice as many missed cuts in the British Open as Top 10 finishes. So even though he entered this tournament off a victory, Mickelson's win here was somewhat unexpected.

He earned it by shooting 66 in the final round, tied for the lowest round of the tournament. Mickelson started the final round tied for ninth place, five strokes behind the leader, Lee Westwood.

But by the 14th hole of the final round, Mickelson had reached 1-under par, shortly moved into a tie for the lead with Westwood and Adam Scott, then took the lead outright as Westwood and Scott dropped shots. Mickelson finished with birdies on the 17th and 18th holes to win by three strokes.

Top 5 at the 2013 Open Championship
Phil Mickelson, 69-74-72-66—281
Henrik Stenson, 70-70-74-70—284
Ian Poulter, 72-71-75-67—285
Adam Scott, 71-72-70-72—285
Lee Westwood, 72-68-70-75—285