Ramble On Sports

Where sports, pop culture and everything else collide.

Masterful Mickelson rules at Augusta

Posted by Bill Koch on April 12, 2010

Phil Mickelson

Sunday was just one more example of how far apart Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods are in their personal and professional lives.

Phil thrived in the fourth round of The Masters while Tiger wilted. Phil stepped off the back of the 18th green at picturesque Augusta National to embrace his beautiful wife, Amy, and their three kids while Tiger stalked to the clubhouse alone. Phil slipped into his third green jacket while Tiger disappeared down Magnolia Lane, back into his sorry, self-imposed exile.

It was ultimately Mickelson, not Woods, who enjoyed a sort of revival on familiar soil this weekend by capturing the 2010 Masters and the fourth major championship of his career. So much has been made of the fact that Mickelson won this tournament for his wife and his mother, Mary, both of whom are stricken with breast cancer. We here at Ramble On would also like to congratulate Mickelson on his victory and the composure that he showed in dealing with his own grief, but we also want to point out something that we feel like most people have missed – namely, that Phil loves the fact that Tiger is suffering right now.

Just think back to when Tiger was winning all of those major championships at the turn of the decade. He displaced Mickelson, a guy who won a PGA tournament as a 21-year-old amateur in 1991, as the new prodigy. Questions dogged Mickelson about his lack of fitness compared to Woods’ chiseled physique, his seemingly lazy practice habits compared to the long hours that Tiger spent on the driving range and the incredible risks that he took on the course compared to Woods’ steely resolve and unshakable desire to win every event he entered.

Mickelson probably could have won a lot more tournaments over the past 20 years if he pulled a 3-wood instead of a driver out of his bag every once in a while, laid up out of the trees instead of trying some misguided hero shot and just hit fairways and greens. That’s not his personality. Mickelson said once that golf would be boring for him if he just played it straight, and it makes perfect sense. It’s not like any virtuoso in any walk of life to do things the easy way, and Mickelson’s talent certainly can’t be taught.

As far as we knew six months ago, Tiger was a loyal husband and great father as well. The true Mickelson will be hidden to a degree behind closed doors like any other celebrity. What we see between the ropes is the same go-for-broke guy who has the balls to try that ridiculous shot from the pine trees on the 13th hole on Sunday. His 16-under total of 272 was the best since Tiger set the tournament record of 270 in 2001, and both men did so with the same swing coach – Butch Harmon, the architect of Tiger’s early success. Add one more tweak to Tiger’s moon-sized ego, the final indignity during Mickelson’s masterful weekend.

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2 Responses to “Masterful Mickelson rules at Augusta”

  1. […] walking down Magnolia Lane all alone and getting on his G4 as fast as he can to avoid the press. Phil Mickelson wins the tournament, hugs his cancer-stricken wife, kisses his three kids, fires a shoutout to his cancer-stricken […]

  2. […] hacker who used the 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills to make equipment changes and sunk like a stone or the stud who rattled Augusta this season to win his third Green Jacket? Will it be the guy who hits it long, dazzles around the […]

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