What has happened to Phil Mickelson?
Wasn’t it just last summer that he hit a moving ball on the putting green at the U.S. Open? He caught a ton of heat for that, and I was one of his harshest critics.
Many believed that this would be the year he would fall out of the World Top 50 ranking for the first time in his career. After nearly winning in Palm Desert and recently winning for the fifth time at Pebble Beach, it’s clear that Mickelson isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
Mickelson has been a star in golf for more than 30 years. He dominated junior golf on the AJGA Tour, and he’s still thought to have the greatest college career of any player in history.
I was fortunate to have played one round of competitive golf while we were both in college. Mickelson was a senior at Arizona State, and I was a sophomore at the University of New Mexico.
I’ll never forget being paired with Mickelson in the final round of the Arizona Intercollegiate in Tucson back in 1992. We were co-leaders, and I remember relishing the opportunity to play with the best player at the time.
The prior year, Mickelson had won the Tucson Open on the PGA Tour as a college junior. He was a superstar in Tucson and was signing autographs the day we played. I’m proud to say that he rolled in a 30-foot putt on the final hole to tie my 71, but we both, eventually, lost in a playoff to a third player. That’s the only time I’ve ever played with him, and it’s a memory I’ll never forget.
Nearly thirty years later, Mickelson is still a superstar in golf.
If it weren’t for Tiger Woods, who knows how he would be perceived in the history of the game. There are 13 golfers who have won more major championships than Mickelson. That list includes greats like Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer.
However, you can make the case that Mickelson might be the third greatest golfer in the history of the game.
The game of golf has never had as many talented players as it does today. The past 20 years has seen a huge shift in the manner players train.
Yet, Mickelson has remained a world-class golfer for more than 30 years.
Longevity alone should rank him in the Top 5 of all-time. He’s No. 3 for me behind Woods and Jack. Where would you place Phil Mickelson on your all-time list?