Phil Mickelson and his former caddie Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay (Image: Getty Images)
Get email updates with the day’s biggest stories
Invalid EmailSomething went wrong, please try again later.Sign upWe use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time.More infoThank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy notice
Phil Mickelson has been tipped to be a Major contender until he is 60 as he loves “smelling blood” at the top of leaderboards.
That's the view of his long-time former caddie Jim 'Bones' Mackay who was on his bag for 25 years until 2017.
USA veteran Mickelson has since become the oldest Major winner in May at the PGA Championship aged 50 at Kiawah Island with his brother on his bag.
Now Surrey-born Mackay believes Mickelson, who turned 51 last month, can go on rivalling his younger competitors at the Masters – plus other courses in windy conditions.
Mackay was on Mickelson's bag at Royal St George's in 2011 when the star came tied second behind Darren Clarke.
And he expects 2013 Open winner Mickelson, who has six Majors, to again be a contender this week.
Phil Mickelson won the US PGA Championship in May at Kiawah Island
(Image: ERIK S LESSER/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
Mackay, in Kent with NBC and the Golf Channel, explained: “He can contend in tournaments for several more years without question.
“He could contend at Augusta towards the age of 60.
“He has a long syrupy swing which puts very little pressure on the rest of his body.
“Which to a large degree is why he has been able to stay injury free for the vast majority of his career.
“He has a great back and the one thing about Phil is he can smell blood.
“You get him out there in a golf tournament, if he gets a little bit of momentum, he knows how to perform.
“He proved that at the PGA.
“He handled it so incredibly well and was as comfortable doing that as playing in a pro am with a local dentist.
“It is how he is built.”
Rory McIlroy's new coach tips silverware after explaining the star's dip
When is The Open 2021? TV channel, live stream, tee times, betting odds and more
The Open, which was postponed last year due to COVID, is back in Kent for the first time in a decade.
Mickelson finished tied second with Dustin Johnson , three shots behind Northern Ireland's Clarke last time.
Mackay added: “He played very well at St George's last time he was there.
“He has won an Open Championship and is a criminally under-rated iron player.
“Phil can keep the ball down in the wind.
“Should the conditions get really testy there, that plays into his hands.
“Phil showed at Kiawah Island, where it was hard to get the ball up and down, that he still will, but a lot of guys won't.”
Mackay was speaking in association with Aon, who sponsor a season-long competition on the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour.
It tests the abilities of the world’s best players to make strategic decisions on 'Aon Risk Reward Challenge holes' throughout the year.
At the end of the season, the player with the lowest average score under par captures an equal $1million prize in both the men’s and women’s game.
Mackay also announced a new 'Nicklaus – Jacklin Award presented by Aon' to be debuted at the 43rd Ryder Cup in September.
The award will be given to two players ― one each from the US and European Ryder Cup teams ― who best embody the spirit of the event.
It is named after the famous 1969 concession by Jack Nicklaus to give Tony Jacklin a two-foot putt for a halved match that resulted in the first tie in Ryder Cup history.
USA veteran Phil Mickelson will be looking for his seventh Major at The Open in Kent this week
(Image: AFP/Getty Images)
Mackay says American duo Brooks Koepka and and Bryson DeChambeau's feud must be addressed before the Ryder Cup.
He admits the two US golf stars are at odds with each other ahead of The Open.
It follows a leaked TV recording of Koepka disparaging fellow big hitter DeChambeau.
Koepka then offered free beer on social media for any fans expelled from the recent Memorial Tournament for yelling his nickname “Brooksy” at DeChambeau.
But Mackay is confident Koepka,31, who has four Majors, and 2020 US Open winner DeChambeau,27, will bury the hatchet for Steve Stricker's US team in September at Whistling Straits, where the hosts will look to overturn their 2018 loss in France.
Mackay reflected: “I get it.
“I can see it is a story moving forward.
“I have been out there long enough to know that you are going to have guys that on occasion aren't exactly on the same page.
“But I don't worry one little bit about it being a problem at the Ryder Cup.
US star Brooks Koepka and compatriot Bryson DeChambeau do not get on
(Image: SIPA USA/PA Images)
“Everybody knows certainly how huge the Ryder Cup is.
“And how huge it is for the Americans at home coming off a loss.
“Steve Stricker is a very smart guy and he will have this addressed.
“I don't know how but I don't worry one little bit that these guys won't be completely behind each other in that team room.”