PHIL MICKELSON – 100 MAJORS AND COUNTING
By R.J. Smiley
Basketball fans can relate. Imagine a basketball player playing in 100 Final Four games or 100 NBA Finals games. There are only two Final Four games and four to seven NBA Final gams each season. There are four Major Golf Championships each season. There are untold hours of practice and immense pressure involved in every shot. Phil Mickelson has repeated the process 100 times. Most times as a contender!
At the recent PGA Championship, Phil Mickelson reached a golf milestone achieved by only nine other golfers in history. Phil has played in 100 Major Championships in his career. That alone is an amazing record but when you consider that Phil has been in the top 25 more than 50% of his Major appearances (54 times). He has five Major Championships, three Masters, one PGA and ine Open (British) Championships. He has not won the U.S. Open, but has finished second six times.
Phil has always been in the limelight since he won a PGA tournament, The Northern Telecom Open, as an amateur. Phil would have been the modern king of golf if it had not been for Tiger. For years Phil played in the huge shadow that Tiger cast over golf. In all golfers memories, Phil has managed to find a way to lose more Majors than Tiger has won. He has won five, but we all feel that Phil should have won at least 20.
Year after year, Phil has continued is to keep his name on the short list of contenders who have a chance to win every Major. Phil is always a story line. Phil is always searching for the technical answer to golf. For some Majors, Phil has carried two drivers, one for left to right shots the other for right to left shots. In some Majors, he has not carried a driver, opting instead for a strong three wood.
Phil has sent his private jet to pick up putting instructor, Dave Pelz, for a middle-of-the-Major lesson. Phil has had more putter and putting grip changes than any other player. Phil is known as one of the best putters on TOUR, making putts from everywhere, then he will three putt from three feet at a critical situation. Watching Phil play golf in Major championships is like reading a suspense novel. You never want to put it down, but you are afraid to turn to the next page.
We have cried with Phil as he has been through the agony of facing breast cancer with the two women he loves most, his wife, Amy, and his mother. We have watched as The Masters Champion Michelson hugs his blond headed daughters.
At the Masters, Phil proved that “white guys can’t jump” as he leaped in the air after the putt.
As a Ryder Cup player, Phil has proved to be a great partner and Captain’s critic. He has beaten all comers who have challenged him on the Ryder Cup ping-pong table.
Etched in our memory banks is the picture of Payne Stewart and Phil embracing at the 1999 U.S. Open when Stewart made that crucial putt for a one shot victory.
The aging Phil thrilled us with that dramatic 3-wood in 2013 to win the British Open crown. He blew us away when he spun the ball stopping on the tiny shelf at the U.S. Open at Merion.
Phil is known for freaky golf shots. He has even hit shots backwards and backwards out of a bunker in tournaments.
The left-handed magician has made fashion experts second guess his selection of golf outfits. One thing is for sure; there are a lot of snakes and lizards running around naked because Phil is wearing their skin.
Phil has even been in the news as the subject of a federal indictment for insiders trading. He even kept us on pins and needles while waiting to see if he would make his tee time for the U.S. Open at Erin Hills.
On a professional level, golf is an entertainment sport. To the golf fans who buy tickets for the Championships and those who never miss a televised event, Phil Mickelson is a rock star. To the tournament organizers who sponsor the events, Phil’s presence is paramount, often making the difference between financial success or failure.
Over the years Phil Mickelson has become the definition of a “Character On The Course.”