Thursday, June 11, 2009

"Lefty" Philip Alfred Mickelson

Philip Alfred Mickelson (born June 16, 1970) is an American professional golfer. He has won three major championships and a total of 36 events on the PGA Tour. He has reached a career high world ranking of 2nd in multiple years. He is nicknamed "Lefty" for his left-handed swing, even though he is otherwise right-handed.
Mickelson was born in San Diego, California and raised there and in Arizona. He swings a golf club left-handed, which he learned by watching his right-handed father swing and mirroring it. He is right-handed otherwise. He graduated from the University of San Diego High School in 1988, then attended Arizona State on a golf scholarship, where he graduated in 1992. During his time at Arizona State, he became the face of amateur golf in the United States, capturing three NCAA individual championships and three Haskins Awards (1990, 1991, 1992) as the outstanding collegiate golfer. He was the second collegiate golfer to earn first-team All-American honors all four years. In addition, in 1990, he became the first left-hander to win the U.S. Amateur title. Perhaps his greatest achievement, though, came in 1991 when he won his first PGA Tour tournament, the Northern Telecom Open. He did so as an amateur, becoming only the fourth in PGA history to accomplish this feat and the first since Scott Verplank, who won the 1985 Western Open in Chicago.

Mickelson continued to win many PGA Tour tournaments, including the Byron Nelson Golf Classic and the World Series of Golf in 1996, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 1998, the Colonial National Invitation in 2000 and the Greater Hartford Open in 2001 and again in 2002. He also won the Buick Invitational in 2000, defeating Tiger Woods and ending his streak of consecutive tournament victories at six. After his win, Mickelson said, "I didn't want to be the bad guy. I wasn't trying to end the streak per se. I was just trying to win the golf tournament." Mickelson also shot a round of 59 at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Poipu Bay Golf Course on November 24, 2004. Mickelson was known for his powerful full swing but even more so for his superlative short game, most of all his daring "Phil flop" shot in which a big swing with a high-lofted wedge against a tight lie flies a ball high into the air for a short distance.
Despite these accomplishments, for many years Mickelson was often described as the "best golfer never to win a major." Mickelson often played well in majors: in the five-year span between 1999 and 2003 he had six second-place or third-place finishes. But victory always eluded him, for reasons that were ascribed to taking too many risky shots, missing too many short putts, or a general lack of what it takes to close out a big tournament. Undaunted, Mickelson continued to refine his game and his course strategy and psychology.
Mickelson shares a record for the most second-place finishes in the U.S. Open with four (along with Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, and Jack Nicklaus).
According to a Sports Illustrated feature entitled "The Fortunate 50", Mickelson is the second-highest paid athlete in the world, behind Tiger Woods. In 2007, Mickelson earned $62 million, $53 million of it from endorsements. The same article estimated that he earned $51 million in 2006. In January 1994 Mickelson made a short cameo appearance in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman in the episode named "Witness".
Mickelson is unpopular with his fellow players. In a poll by GQ magazine, Mickelson was named as one of the athletes most hated by other PGA tour players.
Mickelson's caddy has been Jim "Bones" Mackay for fifteen years.
Mickelson has a life exemption on the PGA Tour for being a tour member for over 15 years and having 20 plus tour victories.
His first major championship win came at the 2004 Masters, where he won with a 18-foot final hole birdie putt, defeating Ernie Els in a Sunday back-nine duel in which the stars traded birdies and eagles back and forth. In addition to getting the "majors monkey" off his back, this made him only the third golfer with a left-handed swing to win a major, the others being New Zealander Sir Bob Charles who won the British Open in 1963 and Canadian Mike Weir who won The Masters in 2003. (Like Mickelson, Weir is a right-hander who plays left-handed.)
Just prior to the 2004 Ryder Cup, Mickelson was dropped from his long standing contract with Titleist/Acushnet Golf when he took heat for a voicemail message he left for a Callaway Golf executive. In it, he praised their driver and golf ball and thanked them for their help in getting some equipment for his brother. This memo was played to all of their salesmen and eventually found its way back to Titleist. He was then let out of his multi-year deal with Titleist 16 months early and signed on with Callaway golf, his equipment sponsor to this day. He endured a great deal of ridicule and scrutiny from the press and fellow Ryder Cup members for his equipment change so close to the crucial Ryder Cup matches. He faltered horribly at the 2004 Ryder Cup going 1-3-0, but refused to blame the sudden change in equipment or his practice methods for his performance.

The following year, in a Monday final round, Mickelson captured his second career major championship with his victory at the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol. On the 18th hole, Mickelson hit one of his trademark soft pitches from deep greenside rough to within a foot and a half of the cup, and then made his birdie to finish at a 4-under-par total of 276, one shot ahead of Steve Elkington and Thomas Bjørn. Mickelson captured his third major championship the following spring by winning the 2006 Masters. He won his second Green Jacket after shooting a 3 under par final round, winning by 2 strokes over his nearest rival Tim Clark. This win propelled him to 2nd place in the Official World Golf Rankings (his career best), behind Tiger Woods and ahead of Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen. (wikipedia - - -

No comments:

Post a Comment