Paige spiranac blocked by Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson’s history-making year of performance was capped off by the most bizarre ending. The year was ever seen on the course. At the Tour Championship, the only grand slam tournament in golf, the four-time Major champion has won the FedEx Cup – golf’s equivalent of ‘cheating a championship with the Tour Championship’ – four times. The most of any player in the tournament’s history.
That start, a mid-August start to the Ryder Cup, also propelled him into the lead. Going into the final day of the final tournament of the year, he was nine shots clear of second place. Oh, and his long-time caddie Chip Landy had just been inducted into the US Golf Hall of Fame. Mickelson looked like he was cruising to another major title.
At 12:30 on the final day, Mickelson endured a difficult day. Because of thunderstorms, the Golfers’ Tour of Europe postponed the whole tournament until October. Mickelson then found himself in the tricky position of having to play the second round of the tournament before the start of the final round, which was already looking like the toughest.
But under ideal conditions for the long game
He defied his detractors, raising an arm in salute to his caddie and fellow competitor who he hardly ever got on with. Even so, he refused to concede.
“It was exciting. It’s not what you would have in America or Europe or anywhere else, but it’s fun,” he said after a 72-hole, 18-hole score of 16-under par.
“I’m excited to get over and into another 18, 17, 18, 18,” he added. “Don’t think I’ll be running in.”
A mug of hot chocolate in his local Starbucks show that he was happy. On the course, though, a ‘Phil Mickelson Kool-Aid’ hostess rose from the area to offer him his favorite treat.
“Hey Phil, did you have your Phil’s Kool-Aid?”, she asked. “Oh yes, it was a beautiful day, but I did have some pints with you.”
Mickelson, ever the poker player, “Go ahead,” he replied. As for his actual score? He said it was “lovely” and by 1:36 am he had completed 18 holes. Four more and he was back in the clubhouse. At that point, he’d been outdueled by American Brian Gay, tied for second on 15-under par.
When he finally finished his round, he had amassed an incredible 13-under 208. In the more-than-likely unlikely case that he ended his 72nd hole in 20-under par, which would have been the record for any player who made at least 36 holes on Sunday, he would have been crowned the best golfer of the year in the sport. At 12.30 am, next Tuesday morning in Paris, where he made his U.S. debut for Muirfield in 1977, Mickelson might stand in the final group alongside Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas.
The next afternoon, he would have just faced, with a score in front of those of 26 times previous winners who had been in contention before him. Mickelson, though, did, just, finish his 72nd hole in 13-under par – and nobody was happier for him than the notorious Phil Mickelson.
It was, let’s face it, pretty crazy to watch, though: the game, which was long and difficult, ended on a bizarre note.
But, like all great sports dramas, a special relationship was forged. “Hi, I’m Phil Mickelson, hoping you have a happy Sunday morning,” started his new partner. “And, thank you for taking the time to come, to my room.” The complimentary hot chocolate ended up lasting for 20 minutes as he called his next friend the best lefty in the world.
So, in the last month, those miracle-winning Ryder Cup sessions and big wins in three out of four majors have been followed by a remote love story. And, as the only player to ever survive multiple caddie scandals, he’s won the business he wanted for his career. As time goes on, he seems to get better.
“Still a ‘guaranteed’ winner,” Rose told Golf Digest in an October cover story, “by far.”