Phil Mickelson has reached this unwanted milestone in the World Ranking for the first time in 30 years
A World Ranking milestone that wouldn’t exactly please Phil Mickelson went almost unnoticed for two weeks: The six-time major winner dropped out of the top 200 for the first time in more than 30 years.
On Dec. 11, 45-time PGA Tour winner Mickelson dropped nine places on the Official World Golf Ranking to No. 201. A week later, the 52-year-old Mickelson dropped to No. 209 and a week after that, on Christmas Day, he fell to his current rank of No. 213.
The last time the California native was ranked outside the world’s top 200 was before the 1992 New England Classic, the PGA Tour’s stop in Sutton, Mass. Mickelson had just turned pro in the summer of ‘92, following his third individual NCAA title while playing at Arizona State, and his first event as a pro was the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
Mickelson finished runner up to Brad Faxon at that New England Classic, held in late July, jumping from World No. 266 to No. 175. He then spent the rest of his pro career until two weeks ago inside the top 200 in the world, including a career-best best ranking of No. 2.
The fall outside the top 200 comes after Mickelson dropped out of the top 100 in March of 2021—the first time he’d been out of the top 100 since 1993. Months later, Mickelson won the 2021 PGA Championship at the age of 50 for his sixth major title, catapulting from 115 to 32 on the rankings.
Earlier this year, Mickelson’s ranking plummeted when he took a four-month hiatus from competitive golf due to inflammatory comments he made in 2021 that were published in early February. The comments were about the PGA Tour and LIV Golf’s financiers, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. In a 2021 phone conversation with golf writer Alan Shipnuck, Lefty acknowledged the “horrible record on human rights” in Saudi Arabia but said he could help “reshape” the PGA Tour using “leverage” from the rival league.
Mickelson returned to golf at the U.S. Open at Brookline in June, after he’d joined LIV Golf courtesy of a guaranteed money that was estimated in reports to be almost $200 million. With LIV Golf not yet earning OWGR ranking points, Mickelson played only six times on the PGA Tour in 2021-22, with a top finish of T-30 in the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He missed four straight cuts, including at the U.S. Open and Open Championship.