Nine days after accepting a special exemption for next month's US Open, Phil Mickelson rendered it unnecessary in amazing fashion by becoming the oldest winner in major championship history.
Mickelson held his nerve during a pulsating final round at Kiawah Island to win his sixth major title in the 103rd US PGA Championship, 16 years on from lifting the Wanamaker Trophy for the first time.
The 50-year-old carded a closing 73 amid euphoric scenes around the 18th green, finishing six under par and two shots ahead of Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen, with Shane Lowry, Padraig Harrington, Paul Casey and Harry Higgs two strokes further back.
A 280-1 outsider at the start of the week, Mickelson will celebrate his 51st birthday on June 16, the day before the US Open - which he needs to win to complete the career grand slam - gets under way at Torrey Pines.
Julius Boros had been the previous oldest major champion, claiming the US PGA title in 1968 at the age of 48.
Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington were among four players tied for fourth on two-under par, while Rory McIlroy, who failed to break par in any round at Kiawah Island, finished on five-over par.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Mickelson said: "I mean, this is just an incredible feeling because I just believed that it was possible, but yet everything was saying it wasn't.
"I hope that others find that inspiration. It might take a little extra work, a little bit harder effort to maintain physically or maintain the skills, but gosh, is it worth it in the end and I'm so appreciative to be holding this Wanamaker Trophy."
Asked about the incredible scenes on the 18th, Mickelson added: "I don't think I've ever had an experience like that, so thank you for that.
"(It was) slightly unnerving, but exceptionally awesome, so thank you."