Phil Mickelson: Life and Career of the Legendary Golfer

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson is a legendary American golfer who has won over 40 tournaments on the PGA Tour. He also has five Major titles, with the first one coming at the 2004 Masters. In this post, we will be looking at the life and career of the legendary golfer. 

Phil Mickelson: All You Need to Know

Who Is Phil Mickelson?

The golf legend started showing a keen interest by the time he was a toddler. It’s almost unbelievable that he showed an interest in golf at that age. His career began when he was at Arizona State University, where he won three NCAA individual championships, before turning pro at age 22. Long known for his inability to win a Major title despite his elite skills, “Lefty” finally got the monkey off his back with a dramatic victory at the 2004 Masters, and went on to conquer four more major championships over the subsequent decade.

When was Phil Mickelson born?

Philip Alfred “Phil” Mickelson was born on June 16th, 1970. He was born in the Californian town of San Diego. Mickelson’s career in golf began around the time he could walk. His parents, Phil and Mary, have often recounted the story of a young Mickelson running away from home at the age of three, telling neighbors he was going to the golf course.

Mickelson began an amateur golfing career as a teenager. He won 34 San Diego Junior Golf Association titles, using his father’s job as an airline pilot to score tickets to his various tournaments. His mother took a second job to help him with the American Junior Golf Association play, which won him three consecutive AJGA Rolex Player of the Year awards, and a full scholarship to Arizona State University.

Phil Mickelson: Golfing Career

College Career

Mickelson graduated from the San Diego High School in 1988, and headed to Arizona State University to study psychology. During his time at Arizona State, Mickelson jumped to the top of the national amateur golfing ranks. He won three NCAA individual championships and three Haskins Awards for outstanding collegiate golfer, and became only the second collegiate golfer to earn first team All-American honors all four years.

In 1990, while a junior in college, Mickelson became the first left-hander to win the U.S. Amateur title. He went on to stun all the critics by winning his first ever PGA Tour tournament as an amateur. He is only the fourth golfer in the history of the PGA tour to achieve that. Mickelson earned his bachelor’s degree from ASU after his 1991 win in Tucson. In 1992, on the eve of his 22nd birthday, he turned professional. 

Rise to Stardom

Mickelson’s first title as a professional came in 1993 at Torrey Pines, and over the subsequent decade, “Lefty” continued carving out his place among the simplest within the sport. He won the Byron Nelson Golf Classic and the World Series of Golf in 1996; the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 1998; and the Colonial National Invitation in 2000. He also beat the heavy favourite Tiger Woods in the Buick Invitational in the same year, breaking Woods’ streak of consecutive tournament victories.

Even though Phil Mickelson consistently performed at a high level, he failed to get over the hump on the biggest occasions. This led to him earning the unofficial title of “best player to never win a major”. But the magical moment finally came at the 2004 Masters, when the 33-year-old birdied five of the ultimate seven holes, including No. 18, to tug out a one-stroke convert over Ernie Els. “It’s hard for me to explain how it feels,” said the elated golfer afterward. “It’s almost make-believe.”

Sustained Success in the Majors

Phil Mickelson went on to capture more titles in the form of 2005 PGA Championship and a second Masters win in 2006. In 2007, Forbes estimated his earnings for the year at $42 million, making him one among golf’s highest-paid players.

Lefty continued adding to his trophy collection with wins at the 2007 Players Championship and at the 2009 Tour Championship. At the 2010 Masters, he mounted a robust charge on the rear nine of the third round, before pulling away on the ultimate day to earn his third green jacket. Two years later, he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

During the 2013 US Open, Phil Mickelson started out strong but he fizzled out near the end and attained his sixth runner up spot in the event. However, Mickelson came back with a bang in the British Open. On his way to victory, Mickelson hit birdies on four of the last six holes. After the incredible victory, Mickelson told ESPN: “I’ve had some of the best golf I’ve ever played today. It will be one of the most memorable rounds of golf I’ve ever played.”

Struggles and Hardships

Following a winless 2014, Mickelson placed second at the 2015 Masters, the 10th time he had done so in a major competition. Getting his 43rd PGA title proved to be one of the biggest challenges of his career.

Mickelson began working with a new swing coach late in 2015, displaying positive results with a second-place finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and a third-place showing at the British Open in 2016. However, his momentum was slowed when he twice underwent surgery for a sports hernia late in the year.

After a long dry spell, Phil Mickelson finally won the WGC-Mexico Championships defeating Justin Thomas in a playoff to claim the WGC-Mexico Championship This is what he said after his win: “This is a very meaningful win. I can’t really put it into words given the tough times over the last four years and the struggle to get back here.”

Eleven months later, Mickelson enjoyed the taste of victory once again following a final-round 65 at the 2019 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. It was his fifth career win in the event, tying the record held by Mark O’Meara.

Matchup Against Tiger Woods

In August 2018, it was announced that Mickelson and his longtime rival, Woods, would square off in a televised, one-on-one showdown in Las Vegas on November 23. Billed as a winner-take-all match for $9 million, Mickelson said they were considering adding a series of in-match challenges that included longest drive, closest to the hole, longest putt and closest out of a bunker.

“It’s an opportunity for us to bring golf to the masses in prime time during a period where we don’t have much going on in the world of golf,” said Mickelson, adding that they expected to wear microphones so fans could hear their banter.

The banter didn’t quite materialize as expected, with both players concentrating on their shots, but Mickelson ultimately claimed the prize money and bragging rights by sinking a birdie on the 22nd and final hole.

Mickelson and Woods squared off again in “The Match: Champions for Charity” in May 2020, with NFL legends Tom Brady and Peyton Manning joining the fun. This time, the Mickelson-Brady pairing lost to Woods and Manning, though the event was a major success with $20 million raised for coronavirus relief efforts


Phil Mickelson: Best Quotes

“I remember when I first came out on tour, it was Greg Norman and Nick Price. We forget how big Norman was, what a presence he was. I remember one of my first tournaments, Greg threw an orange peel down on the ground and some fan ran over and grabbed it. ‘This is Greg Norman’s orange peel!’”

“I love competing against the best players. I have a huge challenge, and that’s to win a U.S. Open and complete the Grand Slam. I enjoy that challenge. Every year it comes around, I get excited to try to conquer that opportunity. I love it.”

“The only way to win tournaments is with the short game. Over half your shots out here are within 30 or 40 yards. Ballstriking is where I’m trying to improve, yes, but more to eliminate big numbers than make birdies.”

“Even after Augusta, having not won a major or come close this year, I didn’t doubt the fact it would happen again. I just didn’t know when. It’s tough for me to really say tangibly if there was something that was missing before The Masters win or not. I certainly feel a little bit different entering the majors. Certainly I’m a little bit more patient with myself.”

“My kids and I sometimes will just sit in my office and talk about what the world was like 68 million years ago. Amanda, our oldest daughter, wanted to be a paleontologist for a long time.”

“Let’s say she’s a 15-year-old boy playing in men’s tournaments, in the Amateur Public Links and winning these matches, or coming within strokes of missing the cut in a PGA tournament. When I was 17 I couldn’t come close to making a cut, and at the time I was doing very well in junior golf. I just can’t believe any 15 year old, especially a young girl, could be doing what she’s doing. I can’t fathom it. It’s just amazing.”

Who is Phil Mickelson married to?

Phil Mickelson married Phoenix Suns cheerleader and fellow Arizona State University alum Amy McBride. They have had three children: Amanda, Sophia and Evan. Amy McBride was diagnosed breast cancer in 2009 but she eventually beat the disease with the help of chemotherapy.

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