It was for good reason. All of the talk was about Tiger, Tiger, and more Tiger. As great as Woods is, we forgot about good ol’ Lefty. The ill-advised shot at Winged Foot, the missed opportunities, and the major wins he could have won. But if there is anything about Phil is that he has never put on a front when it comes to who he is.
Which is why Mickelson’s win at The Masters Sunday was the story that no one thought would be the biggest one.
He loves having his family on the golf course. He’ll answer everyone’s questions without being robotic. Phil may not have as many fans, fair-weathered or not, as Tiger has, but he is very popular and well-thought of on the tour.
If anyone felt that Tiger’s been through hell, then you don’t know what the last 365 days has been for Phil Mickelson.
His wife, Amy, and his mother diagnosed with breast cancer within weeks of each other. Phil played golf last year, but took time off to care for both his wife and mom. No one expected him or clamored for him to return, like we did for Tiger. If anything, Phil’s priorities didn’t exactly have golf at the top. It’s up there, but no money can replace how much he cares about his wife and his family.
If there is one thing I know, this simple adage still applies: golf is bigger than one person. People watched golf before Tiger Woods and Phil, and people will watch after they leave or when both guys do the ceremonial tee-shot to start the Masters.
Golf is a sports where individuals have a story to tell as they line up for a putt on each hole, take a chip shot out of the rough, and when a shot catapults into the pond. The main idea is that there is a story behind the story during The Masters this weekend.
And it’s not always the big story. It’s the story that should have gotten the attention or more interest. I don’t hate Tiger and it’s not my place to prevent him from making a living. With that said for those who will only watch golf if Tiger Woods is playing, you’re missing the entire point about the game of golf and for those who were there before he arrived.