Without a doubt, Phil Mickelson is one of my favorite people on the PGA Tour. At The Masters this year, as he finished up on the 18th green, and knowing he would not be making the playoff between Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen, Phil, with a big smile on his face, was high-fiving people on the way to the scorer’s tent, and returned to sign a multitude of autographs before departing. You gotta love him. Had you not known he was two strokes back, and would have to settle for third place, you might have thought he had already won another Green Jacket.
Phil started out with a rush in 2012, winning at the ATT Pebble Beach Pro Am, formerly the Crosby Clam Bake, then got into a three way tie the following week at The Northern Trust Open, where he lost in the playoff to Bill Haas. During that playoff, I had mentioned to my wife, who loves to watch golf as much as I do, that Phil looked worn out.
He began the season at The Humana Challenge, and by the time he finished up at Riveria, he had played five week in a row. Now I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of golf and traveling for a golfer in his early 40′s. Mickelson put a couple of good finishes together with a 4th place finish in Houston, and the near miss at Augusta, and got a 7th place again in Texas at the Byron Nelson.
By the time Phil got to the Memorial, he again looked very tired and worn out. He uncharacteristically withdrew from the tournament after shooting a 79, citing the cameras on the course were distracting him. That just isn’t Phil Mickelson. His season began to spiral downward at that point, not having a round out of the 70′s at The US Open. It continued with missed cuts at The Greenbriar, and again at the British Open.
During the FedEx Cup playoffs, Mickelson found his game again. He got a T 2 finish at the Deutche Bank, and a T 4 at the BMW Championship, and was tied for 15th at the Tour Championship. He was paired with Keegan Bradley at the Ryder Cup, and Keegan was able to fire him up. It was good to see Phil excited again about golf. It was the first time since March that Phil Mickelson appeared to be energized on the golf course.
Phil finished his 2012 season in fifth place on the FedEx Cup list, and is currently 13th in World Rankings. With just over $ 4,000,000 this year, he ended 2012 in 8th position. That gives the 42 year old from San Diego, a touch over $ 73 Million for his career.
While Tiger Woods was going through his off course discretion’s, Phil Mickelson was a picture of what was right with the world, and professional golf. He is a dedicated family man who has stood by his wife and mother while they were dealing with cancer. He put his family ahead of the game, and in my opinion, one of the finest people I’ve seen, in and around the world of professional sports.
Since his appearance at the Barclays Singapore Open earlier this month on the European Tour, where he finished 14th, I am hoping he takes some time to rest before the new season starts in January. His success next season will depend on cutting his schedule back some. He’s starting to get long in the tooth, and needs to take more down time in order to keep up with the young guys. I would love to see him challenging Rory and Tiger next season. That is going to be fun to watch.
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