I interviewed Phil Mickelson years ago on my radio show and he was one of the most glib, introspective and articulate athletes I’ve ever met.
Hey, I want the old Phil Mickelson back.
You know, the one that smiled a lot with an extra dose of goofy thumbs ups and toothy grins.
The same one that was hilarious when he would trash talk celebs and fellow pros on “The Match” series on TNT.
The Lefty that wore a visor and long sleeve dress shirt and would play golf with a pedal-to-the-medal mentality that was a joy to watch for both hackers and other pros.
After going dark for several months on Twitter, Mickelson has resurfaced as a Greg Norman-lite with a wild response to a tweet by a follower about a Ryder Cup style match pitting LIV vs. PGA Tour.
Amazingly, Lefty tweeted this shoot-from-the-hip, in-your-face response: “It sounds great, but we would dominate them so soundly and it would be over so quick that TV would have to fill an hour of dead time. That’s why it’s not happening at this time.”
Mickelson used to rule Twitter with his witty repartee and awesome takes and content. Now, he just seems vindictive and desperate to ridicule the PGA Tour every chance he gets.
Philly Mick may have gained tons of loot with his move to LIV (reported to be $200 million), but he has lost a lot and will continue to lose a lot. Things money can’t buy…
The Ryder Cup captaincy is not gonna happen. A starring role as a Masters ceremonial starter is probably not in his future. Major corporate sponsors will be scarce. He’ll never rule the WM Phoenix Open inside and outside the ropes like he used too. The “Match” will go on without him. The list is really too long and painful to itemize here.
Fact is, Phil used to be the face of the PGA Tour along with Tiger. Both were predicted to be trusted elder statesman of the game with valued opinions.
Who would have envisioned that Tiger – with all his troubles and foibles in recent years- would emerge as the the more authentic of the two. Many of Phil’s harshest critics maintain his always smiling, folksy act was just that, an act.
Equally sad is Phil’s golf game.
When he joined LIV, he literally gave up his chance to take a home run trot with his surprising win in the 2021 PGA Championship as a 50 year-old who ranked 115th in the world at the time.
If Mickelson would have bet on himself he would have cleaned up and perhaps not needed the 200 mill. The odds of him winning were a whopping 250 to 1 at the beginning of that week.
Since joining LIV, Mickelson looks like a shell of the guy who pulled off the improbable victory at Kiawah Island.
The six-time major winner and World Golf Hall of Fame member rarely breaks 70 anymore. Get this, last year on LIV he ranked 39th out of 60 players on their money list with two top 10’s in 8 events.
Lefty’s combined scoring average on the PGA Tour (latter part of 2021-22 season before joining LIV) and 2022 LIV Golf was a whopping 72.846. You’d go broke on the mini-tours shooting those numbers.
Fact is, the PGA Tour was more fun when it had a smiling pied piper like Phil, regardless if it may have been some manufactured persona designed to haul in endorsements and fan adulation.
Now, we’re left with a 20 lbs lighter Phil that probably won’t ever return to his marvelous form on or off the course.
That is sad, really sad.