Tom Brady, unlike a certain former world No. 1 golfer, sure doesn’t act his age on the playing field, as his historic comeback to win his record fifth championship in Super Bowl LI on Sunday night proves. But it’s the fitness regimen of the 39-year-old, four-time Super Bowl MVP that motivates Phil Mickelson and awes even Gary Player.
Mickelson, who has not won a tour event since 2013 but, at some five years older than broken-down superstar Tiger Woods, keeps on keepin’ on — even after two sports hernia surgeries over the offseason. Lefty, who tied for 16th at last week’s Phoenix Open, said prior to New England’s stunning, come-from-behind 34-28 win over the Falcons that what Brady told him during a three-day golf outing with the Patriots QB in April inspired him to plug away at his own training.
“The conversation I had with Tom was very motivational for me, because he’s a guy that knows and believes that if he puts in the work he’s able to keep performing at a high level,’’ Mickelson told Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post on Saturday. “The fact that he’s willing to put in the work is inspirational. So it’s something that I really look up to.’’
Brady also told Mickelson the Pats would win the Super Bowl because of his team members’ overall fitness, thanks to new approaches to health and wellness.
“‘We’re a superior team and our entire team has changed the way we train to avoid injuries,’” Mickelson quoted Brady, whose squad lost the fewest players to injured reserve this season, according to Cannizzaro.
Brady’s winning formula for training even wowed fitness evangelist Gary Player.
“Brady is one of my heroes in sport, because at 39 years of age in football, what he’s doing is just unheard of,’’ said Player, who, at 81, boasted he had just run the treadmill “at max speed,” done 1,300 sit-ups and crunches, push-ups, and pumped 350 pounds with his legs.
That moment when a tweet from Tom Brady's Ego comes across your timeline and you realize that's because it was RT'd by ... Gary Player.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN) January 9, 2014
“When you think that his first Super Bowl was 15 years ago and here he is playing in another one, it’s quite remarkable,” Player said. “In my opinion, he’s the greatest quarterback that ever lived.’’
The nine-time major championship winner from South Africa will get no argument from anyone even vaguely aware of Brady’s accomplishments as the winningest quarterback in Super Bowl history.
Player, who earned his last PGA Tour win in 1978, at age 42, and Champions Tour victory in 1998, said he rates superstars by how long they’re able to stay in contention. Needless to say, Brady ranks high in the Black Knight’s esteem.
“He’s a role model to young people on fitness and education,” Player said.