He’s Pro Golf’s Drama Champion
He’s the best left-handed golfer in the world, and he’s very close to being the best golfer in the world.
You can say a lot of things about Phil Mickelson, and almost everyone does — especially in this golf-crazy community. But there is no question that he’s the drama king of professional golf.
Go back 11 years to June of 1999 in Pinehurst, and you’ll find Mickelson standing on the 18th green of the famed No. 2 Course watching Payne Stewart drain a 15-foot birdie putt that won the U.S. Open and rocked the golf world.
But that putt was only part of the drama. All week, Mickelson kept insisting that he was one cell-phone call away from walking off the course and catching a plane home to be with his wife, Amy, who was expecting their first child.
Some of us believed him. Some of us doubted him. It was just too hard to picture a man walking off the course with the U.S. Open championship within his grasp.
But after watching and listening to Mickelson Sunday after his momentous win in Augusta, there can’t be many doubters left.
Phil Mickelson owns the golf world right now. The 50-year-old Freddie Couples may be the most popular player on the PGA Tour in sneakers these days, but Mickelson is the most popular guy wearing cleats.
Tiger Woods draws more fans than anyone, but that’s because of his golfing skills or the sensational scandal that has surrounded him since last Thanksgiving, not because the people love him. There is a passion between Mickelson and the fans that has seldom been matched in sports.
Mickelson’s game has suffered over the past few months because he has been distracted by family concerns. First, his beloved Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer. Then his mother suffered the same illness.
But he brought his wife and daughters to Augusta last week and on Sunday, behind the 18th green at the Masters, Phil and Amy shared a long moment that brought tears to a lot of eyes watching on television. This was more than a man winning a golf tournament. This was a man proving to the world that no matter what he might achieve on the golf course, no trophy or green jacket would ever mean as much to him as the woman he loved.
Anyone still doubt that Phil Mickelson would’ve walked off No. 2 and taken that plane on that fateful Sunday in 1999?
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