It may be stating the obvious, but the Waste Management Phoenix Open is Lefty’s House. He cemented his golf legend here while playing at Arizona State University, won the Tucson Open as an amateur, and took up residence here for years before finally moving his family to his hometown area, San Diego.
Phil can do no wrong at TPC Scottsdale. And Tiger’s problems, Dan Bickley points out in the Arizona Republic, only serve to make Phil look even better.
It has been 14 years since Mickelson first won the Phoenix Open, and
much has changed at the TPC Scottsdale. A stadium surrounds the 16th
hole, not just a hill full of crazy people. There are new sponsors
and solar-powered trash compactors. There is a plaque on the 18th
fairway commemorating a drive from JB Holmes, a big-hitting member of
And yet this is still Mickelson’s kingdom, his playground, his
tournament. Hold a popularity contest, and his name would already be on
No golfer has benefited more from the
downfall of Tiger Woods, whose on-course achievements always seemed to
exacerbate Mickelson’s shortcomings. Once upon a time, Woods was
portrayed as a highly disciplined athlete immune to bad decisions. Mickelson was equally talented but prone to
whimsical play, a gambler easily seduced by reckless decisions.
Woods was hailed for his steely focus and workout regimen, while
Mickelson’s paunch was easily explained by a general lack of commitment
and desire. Woods was great in the clutch, while Mickelson often imploded at the
first sign of trouble. And while Mickelson was clearly the people’s
choice, signing autographs and mingling with fans, Woods did most of the winning.
All of that has changed. Woods is the one branded by bad judgment
and reckless behavior. Woods is considered the phony and the fraud,
selling a family-man myth to corporate America. And to complete the
stunning reversal, Woods’ shortcomings are now exacerbated by
For instance, consider Mickelson’s acts of impromptu charity, which
are legendary on tour. He has been known to spend $100 for roadside
lemonade, leaving the change as a tip. And when former NFL star Conrad
Dobler fell on hard times, Mickelson put two of Dobler’s children
Meanwhile, no one dares to question Mickelson’s priorities. In 2009,
he suspended his season when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer
(his mother was diagnosed six weeks later)…
Mickelson will never win as many tournaments as Woods. None of that seems to matter now, a time when
the world’s best player has been recast as a villain, a time when
Mickelson’s soft side is suddenly a source of celebration.