Phil Mickelson, USA

Phil Mickelson began his professional golfing career on the PGA Tour in 1992. Since then he has achieved worldwide success, winning multiple majors as well as being an integral part of several Ryder Cup Teams.

Known for being one of the Tour’s “good guys,” Mickelson once gave $200 to a spectator after his wayward tee shot broke the man’s watch during the third round of the 2006 Ford Championship at Doral.

Born in San Diego, California in June 1970, Mickelson began playing golf under his father’s tutelage. Although he is right-handed, Mickelson learned to play golf left-handed by watching his right-handed father swing and mirroring it. Thus, the golfer’s nickname is “Lefty.”

Mickelson attended Arizona State University on a golf scholarship, quickly becoming the face of amateur golf in the United States after capturing three NCAA individual championships and three Haskins Awards as the outstanding collegiate golfer. He was the second collegiate golfer to earn first-team All-American honours all four years and in 1990 became the first left-hander to win the U.S. Amateur title.

As an amateur in 1991 Mickelson won his first PGA Tour event at the Northern Telecom Open. A feat only accomplished by five other players in PGA Tour history, at the time.

Mickelson turned pro in 1992 following his college graduation, bypassing the Tour’s qualifying process (Q-School) because of his 1991 Tucson win, which earned him a two-year exemption.

Early successes followed with multiple PGA Tour wins, including the 2000 Buick Invitational, where Mickelson defeated Tiger Woods, ending Woods’ streak of consecutive tournament victories at six. After his win, Mickelson said, “I didn't want to be the bad guy. I wasn't trying to end the streak per se. I was just trying to win the golf tournament.”

Despite all these accomplishments, for many years Mickelson was described as the “best golfer never to win a major,” holding six second-place or third-place finishes at majors between 1999 and 2003.

Mickelson finally captured his first major win at the 2004 Masters, where he won with an 18-foot final hole birdie putt, to defeat Ernie Els in a Sunday back-nine duel.

The following year, Mickelson secured his second career major championship winning the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol. On the 18th hole, Mickelson hit one of his trademark soft pitches from deep greenside rough to within a foot and a half of the cup, and then made his birdie to finish at a 4-under-par total of 276, one shot ahead of Steve Elkington and Thomas Bjørn.

Mickelson captured his third major championship the following spring at the 2006 Masters. Securing his second Green Jacket after shooting a 3-under-par final round, to win by two strokes over his nearest rival, Tim Clark.

This win propelled the Callaway golfer to 2nd place in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Frustrated with his driving accuracy, Mickelson made the decision in April 2007 to leave longtime swing coach Rick Smith to work with Butch Harmon, a former coach of Tiger Woods. On May 13, 2007, Mickelson came from a stroke back on the final round to shoot a three-under 69 to win The Players Championship with an 11-under-par 277.

At the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont, after shooting 11 over par during 2 rounds, Mickelson missed the cut for the first time in 31 majors.

In September of that year, Mickelson won the Deutsche Bank Championship. Marking the first time Mickelson was able to best Woods while paired together on the final day of a tournament.

Mickelson won for the first time in 2009 by defending his title at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club, finishing just one stroke ahead of Steve Stricker, marking his 35th win on tour.

Just one month later, Mickelson made it 36 with his first World Golf Championship, at the 2009 WGC-CA Championship, securing a one- stroke win over Nick Watney.

On May 20, 2009, it was announced that Mickelson’s wife, Amy, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Mickelson announced he would suspend his PGA Tour schedule indefinitely.

Less than two weeks later, Mickelson announced that he would return to play on the PGA Tour at the St. Jude Classic and the U.S. Open in June, after doctors treating his wife advised that her cancer had been detected in an early stage.
Mickelson shot a final round 70 at the 2009 U.S. Open and recorded a record-breaking fifth runner-up finish at the event.

On July 6, 2009 it was announced that his mother, Mary Mickelson, was diagnosed with breast cancer and would have surgery at the same hospital where his wife was treated. Mickelson again took a leave of absence from the Tour, missing The Open Championship later that month.

On July 28, Mickelson announced he would return to the PGA Tour in August at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, the week before the PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota.

In September, Mickelson won The Tour Championship for the second time in his career. After entering the final round four strokes off the lead, Mickelson shot a final round 65 to win the event by three strokes over Tiger Woods. Leaving Mickelson to finish the season second behind Woods in the 2009 FedEx Cup standings.

The Callaway player’s good form continued as he won the WGC-HSBC Champions in November, one-stroke ahead of Ernie Els.

In April 2010, Mickelson won his third Green Jacket and fourth major victory at the Masters Tournament with a 16-under-par performance, giving him a three-stroke win over Lee Westwood.

During a memorable final round at Augusta National, Mickelson posted a bogey-free 67 to Westwood’s 71. After making birdie on the final hole, Mickelson greeted his waiting wife, Amy, with a prolonged hug and kiss. A poignant moment for the couple and golf fans after Amy’s illness the previous year. With CBS Sports announcer Jim Nantz’s stating at the time, “That's a win for the family.”

In the days leading up to the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, Mickelson announced he had been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. Stating that he had started medical treatment, and had become a vegetarian in hopes of aiding his recovery. He maintains that both his short and long term prognosis are good and that the condition should have no long-term effect on his golfing career. Mickelson went on to finish the championship T12, five shots behind winner, Martin Kaymer.

2011 proved a great season for Mickelson. After winning the Shell Houston Open in April, Mickelson rose to number three in the world ranking, while Tiger Woods fell to number seven. Mickelson had not been ranked above Woods since the week prior to the 1997 Masters Tournament.

At the 2011 Open Championship, Mickelson recorded just his second top-ten finish in 18 tries at the major by tying for second with Dustin Johnson. His front nine 30 put him briefly in a tie for the lead with eventual champion Darren Clarke. However, his putter betrayed him and he faded down the stretch to finish in a tie for second.

In 2013, Mickelson won the Waste Management Phoenix Open, registering his 41st Tour win and re-entering the top-10 in the official world golf rankings.

By June, Mickelson once again suffered a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open. Tying Jason Day to end the tournament two-strokes behind winner, Justin Rose. Marking the Callaway player’s 6th second-place finish at the event.

Mickelson stated afterwards, “this is tough to swallow after coming so close…I felt like this was as good an opportunity I could ask for and to not get it…it hurts.”
Despite his disappointment, Mickelson would go to win his fifth major title that July at The Open Championship, just one week after winning the Scottish Open. Talking about his win at Muirfield Mickelson said, “I played arguably the best round of my career, and shot the round of my life. The range of emotions I feel are as far apart as possible after losing the U.S. Open. But you have to be resilient in this game.”

In September 2014, Mickelson made his 10th Ryder Cup appearance as Team U.S.A took on Team Europe at Gleneagles in Scotland. The Europeans delivered a thrashing to the U.S. side, resulting in a 16 ½ to 11 ½ loss for Mickelson’s team, their 8th defeat in 10 Ryder Cups.

Mickelson took some heat after denouncing captain Tom Watson’s leadership during a press conference. When asked about the winning formula America had in 2008 Mickelson stated their captain that year, Paul Azinger, “ had a real game plan; how we were going to go about playing together; golf ball, format, what we were going to do if so-and-so is playing well, if so-and-so is not playing well: we had a real game plan. We use that same process in the Presidents Cup and we do really well. Unfortunately, we have strayed from a winning formula, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best.”

Shortly thereafter the PGA of America set up a Ryder Cup Task force of which Mickelson was a member. In February 2015 it was announced they had chosen Davis Love III to captain Team U.S.A at the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine.

Career Wins:

1993 - The International
1993 - Buick Invitational of California
1994 - Mercedes Championships
1995 - Northern Telecom Open
1996 - NEC World Series of Golf
1996 - GTE Byron Nelson Golf Classic
1996 - Phoenix Open
1996 - Nortel Open
1997 - Sprint International
1997 - Bay Hill Invitational
1998 - AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
1998 - Mercedes Championships
2000 - The TOUR Championship
2000 - MasterCard Colonial
2000 - BellSouth Classic
2000 - Buick Invitational
2001 - Canon Greater Hartford Open
2001 - Buick Invitational
2002 - Canon Greater Hartford Open
2002 - Bob Hope Chrysler Classic
2004 - Masters Tournament
2004 - Bob Hope Chrysler Classic
2005 - PGA Championship
2005 - BellSouth Classic
2005 - AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
2005 - FBR Open
2006 - Masters Tournament
2006 - BellSouth Classic
2007 - Deutsche Bank Championship
2007 - The PLAYERS Championship
2007 - AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
2007 – HSBC Champions
2008 - Crowne Plaza Invitational
2008 - Northern Trust Open
2009 - The TOUR Championship
2009 - World Golf Championships-CA Championship
2009 - Northern Trust Open
2010 - Masters Tournament
2011 - Shell Houston Open
2012 - AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
2013 - Waste Management Phoenix Open
2013 - Scottish Open
2013 - The Open Championship
2018 - AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
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