Phil Mickelson’s Mistakes Should Never Frame His Golfing Legacy

Posted: February 20, 2012 in PGA
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I hate to demonize people off of one mistake – outside of John Wall, but generally speaking, we all make mistakes and I don’t think it should overwhelmingly frame us for the rest of our lives. People do things at 15 that were stupid, you did it and I did it. I think it’s funny with Phil Mickelson, if you ask people about Tiger Woods they’ll be like “the legend” yet if you ask people about Phil Mickelson, they’ll be like “uh, underachiever, little bit of a choker” and I think that’s totally unfair to the guy.

First of all, John Stockton is the second greatest point guard ever – he played during the Jordan dynasty. Anybody who ever watched John Stockton – take out one guy named Magic Johnson, John Stockton is the best point guard ever. If you don’t think I’m right, go look at the top 10 scorers in league history and find out which out doesn’t fit …Karl Malone. If Karl Malone had an average guard, he’s not even a top 20 scorer. Stockton made Malone, absolutely made him into the player he turned out to be. Now it’s not to say that Karl couldn’t play, but he certainly doesn’t become the 2nd all time leading scorer in league history! Karl Malone?? Does he even have one great playoff series win…ever? He’s surrounded by the Wilt’s, MJ’s, Kareem’s and Kobe’s.

So Phil Mickelson’s career is really lower than what it should be because for Tiger, we’ve certainly placed him in the right spot when it comes to his greatness in the sport but for Mickelson, people tend to drop him because he has struggled in big majors. Think about this, in the history of Golf – we are talking about a century or more, here are the players with 40 PGA tour wins and 4 majors, there’s eight of them: Samuel Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Bryon Nelson, Walter Hagen and Phil Mickelson –that’s pretty rarified air if you ask me. By the way, all-time Phil is 13 and 13 against Tiger.

What’s really hurt Phil Mickelson is the U.S. Open. Where he’s finished second 5 times yet lost by a total of 9 strokes: he lost by 1, 2, 1, 2, and then 3 to Tiger – when Tiger was absolutely dominating the sport like nobody ever has. He lost 5 U.S. Opens by 9 strokes. But simultaneously played against the hottest, greatest golfer whose ever played the sport. Think about this, if he wins just one of those U.S. Opens – and he lost 2 by a stroke, he’s got more majors than Bryon Nelson, if he wins just two of those – if you just give him two stokes, he’s got as many as Sam Snead, Arnie and more than Bryon Nelson. Phil Mickelson – just like Oscar De La Hoya, I always gave Oscar De La Hoya credit because he was willing to fight the best while Roy Jones Jr. dodged people.

Phil Mickelson loves playing Tiger and loved playing against him last Sunday and is the first guy to say – if you can give me anybody in my threesome or foursome, make it Tiger! “He seems to bring out the best in me and in the last 4 or 5 years I’ve played some of my best golf with him. I just seem more focused and I know that his level of play is just so much greater when he’s playing his best than anybody else is and it just forces me to focus on my game more intently and hit more precise shots. I hope that he continues to play better and better and I hope that he and I have a chance to play together more in the final rounds” You go look at guys in the history of the sport, 40 tour wins and 4 majors, there are only 8 of them. For the record, the U.S. Open gave all sorts of great golfer some real problems.

Tom Watson won 8 majors yet only 1 U.S. Open, the U.S. Open gave Arnold Palmer some major problems with 7 majors but only 1 U.S. Open. Mickelson has won 3 Master’s, a PGA championship, in non-majors he has obliterated people. He is arguably the greatest shot maker in the history of the sport – I mean a humongous talent. But like a John Stockton, Patrick Ewing or a Charles Barkley, he just happened to get caught up in the Tiger Tsunami, the Michael Jordan Tsunami and nobody, historically, could win in that era. But Mickelson has lost 5 U.S. Open’s by 9 strokes!! He’s better than what we all make him to be.


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