Monday, May 31

Lying Four: 'Why Is Phil Mickelson Popular?'

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YOU MIGHT ENJOY A CONTRARIAN VIEW on Phil Mickelson, the first 50-year-old major champion. You might even agree with a lot of it.

A week ago in a post titled "Why is Phil Mickelson popular?", Lying Four wrote:

For one thing, Mickelson's victory at the 2021 PGA Championship — the sixth major championship of his career, and the first for any 50-year-old — cements his place as the second-greatest player of his generation, and as perhaps the most durable of the all-time greats. His stature in history, at this point, is nearly impossible to overstate.

For another thing, Mickelson is not a nice guy. He has skirted federal law, flirted with murderers, lamented the burden of multi-millionaires, and humiliated his peers. And that's all just in the past decade — which, in a pro career that now spans nearly 30 years, is saying something.

Phil has made most of us cringe, right? And he certainly has done some bad things. Other players (like Matt Kuchar, as Lying Four mentions in the piece) have lost their nice-guy status and popularity over lesser offenses.

So why does Phil get away with it? Why is he so likable?

The comments section is open if you want to chime in.

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Joe Nathan said...

Thx for this column. As a 70+ year old who has played this wonderful/challenging game for about 60 years, I have mixed feelings about Phil. I have no direct experience with him - only know what I read and see on TV.

On one hand, I admire his relentless persistence and his victories. I'm amazed by some of the trouble shots he's been able to pull off. I appreciate the struggles that his family has been through.

However, I would not have been one of those cheering and chanting his name if I'd been at the PGA where he won recently. That's because I've read a number of things about his personality and the way he sometimes treats people (summarized in your column - which I always enjoy and learn from).

However I recognize that there are many people who admire his accomplishments and are willing to ignore the negative qualities and behavior you discuss. We see this willingness to ignore bad behavior in the way millions treat sports celebrities and national political figures.

Thanks again for your writing. It adds to my knowledge and enjoyment of golf.

Joe in Minnesota

PMC said...

Thanks for providing the insights into golf experiences... I too am of similar vintage to Joe from Minnesota, altho' perhaps not so strident in outlook on the recent PGA Championship.

Yes, many will find fault with some misstep by our sports 'heroes' - some are simple issues that make us wonder why money is so important to those who have so much. Others are more sinister & require a 2nd look from those who are unbiased, not the rabid fan by nature.

However, life's like that - none of us are perfect & compassion is the virtue that sets most of us apart from omnipotent ogres. We don't settle child-sharing issues but cutting the kids in half, is my point.

If you don't like Phil, I'm OK with that but really, we have bigger issues to deal with as humans...