Phil Mickelson's long run in the world top 50 started in 1993, a huge year in sport ...
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 03/11/19 12:21pm
Phil Mickelson's astonishing spell of 26 years ranked among the world's top-50 professional golfers has finally come to an end, and it was a run that began towards the end of a vintage year for sport in 1993.
Mickelson joined the paid ranks the previous year, and his third PGA Tour victory at The International in August took him into the world's top 100 before he broke into the top 50 in November when, aged 23, he finished runner-up to Tom Lehman at the Casio World Open in Japan.
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His emergence as an elite player added to a significant list of major sporting headlines throughout 1993, and here's a reminder of what was happening in the world of sport, 26 years ago ....
Manchester United were crowned inaugural Premier League champions, their first league title for 26 years - the same number of years Mickelson has been in the world top 50. Alex Ferguson guided United to a convincing 10-point triumph over Aston Villa, while Arsenal atoned for a poor league season by winning a historic cup double.
The Gunners beat Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup final, and the two teams would meet again in the FA Cup final - the first, and still only time the same two clubs had reached both domestic cup finals. The second final would go to a replay, with Andy Linighan heading home in the late stages of extra time to snatch a 2-1 victory.
In Europe, the first ever edition of the UEFA Champions League (rebranded from the old European Cup), ended with Marseille becoming the first and so far only French side to conquer Europe - beating AC Milan 1-0 in the final in Munich.
Earlier in the year, the world of football was stunned by the passing of World Cup-winning captain Bobby Moore, who died after a battle with cancer aged 51.
England would also end the year on a low after defeats to Norway and the Netherlands ensured they would fail to qualify for the following year's World Cup in the USA. A controversial 2-0 loss in Rotterdam prompted Graham Taylor to resign as manager.
Linford Christie became the oldest 100m world champion in history at the world championships in Stuttgart. Christie was also the first sprinter to hold the Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth 100m titles at the same time.
There was further gold for Great Britain when Colin Jackson won the 110m hurdles in a world-record time of 12.91 seconds, while Sally Gunnell stormed to victory in the 400m and also set a world record in the final at 52.74 seconds.
After leading the Chicago Bulls to a third consecutive NBA title, Michael Jordan announced his retirement from professional basketball to pursue a career in baseball, although he returned to the NBA a year-and-a-half later and starred in another "three-peat" for the Bulls.
Earlier in 1993, the Dallas Cowboys crushed the Buffalo Bills 52-17 in Super Bowl XXVII, with Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith adding the Super Bowl MVP award to his league MVP honour having led the NFL in rushing yards and touchdowns.
In Major League Baseball, Joe Carter's walk-off home run in game six secured the World Series title for the Toronto Blue Jays against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The boxing year was highlighted by two huge "battle of Britain" fights.
Three years after Chris Eubank beat Nigel Benn, the pair fought a rematch in front of 42,000 fans at Old Trafford and a thrilling bout ended in a draw and is still regarded as one of the finest fights even seen in Britain.
A week earlier, Lennox Lewis beat Frank Bruno in the seventh round at Cardiff Arms Park to retain his WBC heavyweight title.
Shane Warne announced himself to The Ashes with his first delivery, the "ball of the century" to dismiss a bamboozled Mike Gatting at Old Trafford. Warne would go on to take 34 wickets in the series as Australia cruised to a 4-0 victory.
Sir Ian Botham, unable to force his way back into the England side, retired from all cricket midway through the summer, playing his final match for Durham against the touring Australians.
The game changed forever when the World Darts Council (which would become the PDC) was formed in 1993 following huge disagreements with the BDO.
The first PDC world championship, with a 24-man field, began in December 1993, with Dennis Priestley emerging as the first champion at the Circus Tavern after he thrashed Phil Taylor 6-1 in the final.
Four different players won the four majors for the third consecutive year. Bernhard Langer won his second Masters title, Lee Janzen captured the US Open, Greg Norman held off Nick Faldo to win The Open at Royal St Georges, but the Aussie was beaten in a play-off by Paul Azinger at the PGA Championship, where Mickelson finished tied for sixth - his first top-10 finish in a major.
Azinger then earned a vital half with Nick Faldo as Team USA retained the Ryder Cup after a momentous Sunday fightback. Tony Jacklin's Europe took a one-point lead into the singles and won three of the first five matches, but the Americans dominated the middle-order and ran out 15-13 winners.
There were farcical scenes at Aintree as the 147th running of the Grand National was declared void for the first time in history after a horrendous mix-up at the start. Despite the starter and various trainers attempting to halt the race after a false start, 30 of the 39 runners carried on, with Esha Ness leading the seven finishers over the line before officials nullified the result.
Later that year, Vintage Crop was the toast of Ireland as Dermot Weld's six-year-old, ridden by Mick Kinane, became the first horse from the northern hemisphere to win the Melbourne Cup.
With reigning Formula One world champion Nigel Mansell moving to IndyCar, Alain Prost dominated the 1993 season in his Williams and won seven races - including the 50th of his career at the British Grand Prix - as he cruised to his fourth F1 driver's title. Prost started 13 of the 16 races from pole position, but would retire shortly after the season concluded when Williams announced they would be signing Ayrton Senna.
As for Mansell, he became the first driver in history to win the IndyCar title in his debut season.
Motorsport also mourned the death of 1976 world champion James Hunt, who suffered a heart attack and passed away aged only 45.
In MotoGP, Wayne Rainey led the world championship by 11 points and looked poised to capture his fourth consecutive title until a horrific crash at the Italian GP in September, suffering injuries to his spine which left him paralysed from the chest down.
Monica Seles started 1993 as the world No 1 and soon beat arch-rival Steffi Graf to win her third Australian Open title - her eighth Grand Slam - but she was then stabbed in the back by a deranged Graf fan in April and would not be able to compete again for more than two years.
Graf took advantage to win the final three Slams of the year, while Pete Sampras won his first Wimbledon title and added a second US Open crown to his collection in August.