Golf Legends in the Making

If you didn’t already know, Phil Mickelson is an American professional golfer. His full name is Philip Alfred Mickelson. He has won many different events adding up to be around 40 or more wins, some of which include five different major championships, and three different Masters titles. He even made it to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012! He is ranked up with another 15 golfers to win at least 3 out of the 4 majors in the history of golf! He has been within the top 10 Official World Golf Ranking for over a whopping 700 weeks, and a world ranking of 2nd numerous times. He is normally right-handed on everything, except for golf, where he swings with his left, giving him the nickname, Lefty.

Phil Mickelson was born in San Diego, California, but was raised in both San Diego and Scottsdale, Arizona. His father is Philip Mickelson, who is an airline pilot, and used to be a naval aviator, and his mother is Mary Mickelson. He also has a wife and 3 kids.

Phil learned how to play golf from his father, by mirroring how his father played, thus him swinging with his left rather than his right. With his father being a pilot his schedule was very flexible and this allowed his father to be home to play golf with him several different times a week. They had a very elaborate practice area in their backyard in San Diego, allowing him to practice whenever he wanted to. In 1988 he graduated from the University of San Diego High School.

He went on to Arizona State University on a golf scholarship. While at Arizona State University Phil Mickelson became the face of amateur golf in the United States. He was the first golfer with a left-handed swing to earn the amateur title in the United States. He also became the second college golfer to earn first team All-American honors for all four years. As an amateur he went on to win his first PGA Tour event, making this perhaps his greatest achievement as an amateur.

Only being 20 years old he was only the sixth amateur to win a tour event. Since Mickelson’s accomplishment of winning a tour event as an amateur, no one since has won another one as an amateur.

He finally graduated from Arizona State University in 1992, and eventually went professional. He was able to bypass the qualifying process because of his win the year prior. This was because the win had earned him a two year exemption to the process. Near the beginning of 1993 he hired Jim “Bones” Mackay as his new caddy. He won a handful of PGA Tournaments including:

o Byron Nelson Golf Classic in 1996

o AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 1998

o Colonial National Invitation in 2000

o And the Greater Hartford Open in not only 2001, but also in 2002.

His win of the 2000 Buick Invitational ended up ending Tiger Woods’ six consecutive win streak on the PGA Tour. After his win that ended Tiger Woods’ streak he didn’t want to be the bad guy, and didn’t want to necessarily end Tigers streak, he just wanted to win the golf tournament. He performed very well in the majors all the way up until the end of the 2003 golf season:

o 17 top ten finishes

o 6 – second or third place finishes between 1999 to 2003.

His inability to win any of them ended up with him being named as the “best golfer to never win a major”. Finally his first major championship win came to him during his thirteenth year on the PGA tour. He roped in his victory in the 2004 Masters with an 18 foot birdie putt on the final hole. This helped him get the name “best golfer to never win a major” off his chest, and was only the third golfer with a left-handed swing to win a major. The first two being:

o Sir Bob Charles (New Zealand) who had won the Open Championship in 1963

o And Mike Weir (Canada) who has won the Masters in 2003. Mike was also a right handed person with a left-handed swing.

o In recent, Bubba Watson is also another left-handed winner of a Masters, in both 2012 and 2014. Unlike Mickelson and Weir, Bubba is naturally left-handed.

He ended up being let out of his multi-year contract with Titleist/Acushnet Golf because of a voicemail he had left for Callaway Golf for their driver and golf balls. He had also thanked them for helping him get his brother some golf equipment. The voicemail ended up getting back to his sole contractors and they ended up terminating it and was soon after signed on at Callaway Golf, who is his current equipment sponsor.

Phil Mickelson hit his all-time career low for an 18-hole round in 2004. He had hit a 59 at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Poitou Bay Golf Course in Hawaii. In 2005 he had won his second major at the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol. He had ended up finishing 4-under-par at a total of 276 with a soft pitch from deep green side rough to almost a foot and a half away from the hole, and used his birdie to finish it. He finished one shot ahead of Thomas Bjorn and Steve Elkington.

In 2014 he missed the cuts for the first time of the Masters since 1997. At the PGA championship at Valhalla Golf Club he ended up just one shot behind world number one, Rory Mcllroy. At the end of 2015 he ended up wanting a new swing coach, and left his long time swing coach Butch Harmon, to get a new one at the beginning of 2016. He went on to win many more after that, but suffered a couple sports hernia surgeries in the fall of 2016. Many people expected him to be out for quite a while, while recovering from these surgeries, but within the next couple weeks he was up and back at it again.

He has been golfing pretty much his entire life, and made a life for himself doing something he’s always loved. He’s had many ups and downs in his career, but he has always come out doing the one thing he has known forever, something he loves. Most people don’t make a career out of doing the one thing they love, but Phil Mickelson did.

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