July 24, 2013

If you needed another reason to know why Phil Mickelson is so loved by fans and respected by his peers you only have to check this link out. I thought him stopping by the Krispy Kreme in his Masters jacket after his 2010 win at Augusta was cool, but this is right up there as well. Even after all these years and a myriad of examples – the open and honest post-round interviews and press conferences, the love he shows for his family, the goofy smile and the thumbs-up to fans whenever they cheer him, the occasional ball dropped in the hands of a youngster on his way from one tee to another – it’s amazing to me just how much Phil “gets it” and how much Tiger Woods doesn’t.

Phil is, in every way, the anti-Tiger.

The sad truth is, Tiger Woods could have this same level of adoration if he really wanted it. He’s got a million-dollar smile and golf game, and has shown on occasion the ability to poke fun at himself with some wry self-deprecation, but there seems to be something there, a wall designed to keep the public at length. You can chalk it up to different personalities (which they obviously are) but the whole business of golf just seems to be so much work for Tiger, where to Phil it’s all about the passion he has for the game and the prospect of just being in the mix on Sunday. He loves golf and treats it both as the sport he plays and the game it is.

Maybe it’s because I’m thinking Phil has his priorities straight: he’s more than willing to share the credit and his success with others, he makes no excuses when things go wrong, he’s got a beautiful family, and, even when tragedies have struck – i.e., his wife Amy’s cancer – he knows what side of life his bread needs to be buttered on. When Tiger had his fall from grace back in 2008, it was the perfect opportunity for him to remake himself both as person and as a golfer – instead, he throws clubs, tosses expletives in the range of cameras and microphones, and – in this person’s view – cheats by taking improper drops when he knows the rules better than anyone else. You can respect his game and his accomplishments, but classy he’s not, and he’s not the kind of guy you’d want to sit down and have a beer with. It’s too bad.

It’s great to see Phil enjoying his game as much as he does. He’s riding the wave right now, and you just want the ride to continue. Nice going, Phil.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 17:29 | Comments (0)
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