Good thing Phil Mickelson didn’t quit his day job.
Mickelson announced that he had been “fired” from his job as interim asssistant golf coach at Arizona State University — his alma mater — during a press conference this week before the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Tim Mickelson, Phil’s younger brother, is the head coach at ASU and hired his brother for the honorary title in order for Phil to be able to recruit for the program within NCAA rules.
“We had developed a plan to where I could call some recruits,” Mickelson said. “We weren’t really going to say anything and hadn’t said anything for a few weeks until one of the players had tweeted it and it looked like there were some improprieties, which there weren’t, so we had to publicly announce I was assistant captain; otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to make the phone calls I had been making. As of the first week of January, Tim needed, my brother, needed a real assistant to help out with a bunch of the things going on and I got fired.”
The player in question was Ryan Ruffels, a top amateur from Australia, who raised eyebrows when he tweeted, “When Phil Mickelson calls you out of nowhere. #realtalk #whatjusthappened” in early November before it was announced that Mickelson was assistant coach.
In a statement to USA Today, Arizona State’s athletics department clarified the timeline of Mickelson’s hiring and what he was allowed do in his role as assistant coach.
“The portion of the quote regarding improprieties was simply a concern that people who read the news reports (of the telephone conversation) would not know that Phil had been named an assistant coach and would therefore assume that he was a booster making impermissible telephone calls,” the statement read. “Assistant coaches, regardless of their booster status, are allowed to make recruiting telephone calls.”