PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland -- Phil Mickelson received a crystal award Tuesday at The Open Championship.
One of the hallmarks of Mickelson's career is playing for so long at a consistently high level, and the Official World Golf Ranking board honored him for a feat that might be as remarkable as his 47 wins worldwide or his five majors.
Starting with a runner-up finish at the Casio World Open in Japan in November 1993 -- the same year Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas were born -- Mickelson has never been outside the top 50 in the world. The award was for 25 consecutive years, and he's still going.
"To play for this long, I'm very thankful and appreciative,'' Mickelson said.
Peter Dawson, the former R&A chief who now chairs the OWGR board, said Mickelson has been among the top 50 for 1,338 consecutive weeks. The second-longest streak belongs to Ernie Els, at 965 weeks. Among active streaks, Rory McIlroy is next at 556 weeks.
How has Mickelson done it?
"I don't have a great answer for that,'' Lefty replied, though he suggested a long swing has led to a long career because it has kept him largely free of injuries.
As for the motivation, Mickelson has never lacked that.
"I love what I do,'' he said, referring to golf as being a soothing, almost spiritual feeling. "I need it to function.''