Phil Mickelson’s diet nowadays seems to consist of coffee and low hanging fruit.
And it will be a real festival.
The early summer months on the PGA Tour should be rather sleepy as players recharge from the US Open during a three-week window before the British Open, and it still gets crowded for the Olympians.
The Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit came to life long before Australia’s Cam Davis won a five-hole playoff.
It started the day Mickelson arrived to play the tournament for the first time.
The Detroit News reported a ransom trial in 2007 in which a bookie linked to the mob testified that he never paid Mickelson $ 500,000 in bets placed long before a major won. He now has six majors, most recently the PGA Championship at the age of 50.
The minutes of the hearing did not appear in the court files until 2018.
The news said the tangential mention of Mickelson – he was not part of the investigation or accused of wrongdoing – was only discovered a month ago. That was a couple of weeks after the Rocket Mortgage Classic announced that Mickelson would be playing.
What irritated Mickelson, who was not unfamiliar with the close look, was the timing of a story he believed should embarrass him. He felt this was “opportunistic”. Click on bait. And he had a right to feel that way.
But the ultimate pin finder took on the media like never before, a popular target in today’s climate. He rallied his supporters through interviews and a series of tweets that broke lack of accountability and division.
Much like a five-shot lead to the second nine on Kiawah Island, he couldn’t lose.
But it wasn’t any less bizarre.
The story was local, behind a paywall for days, and probably wouldn’t have had any traction until Mickelson and one of his lawyers gave it a new set of tires. Mickelson, who has been implicated in sports betting, is as newsworthy as a dog bites.
He dragged the tournament into drama by threatening not to return one day, praising fans and the city the next day, and offering to return if 50,000 people signed a petition and pledged arbitrary kindness to someone in the community. (As of Tuesday, the petition had around 12,000 signatures).
Whatever the reason, Phil was fed up.
Almost as long as he is on tour, he is exposed to critical reporting. For his involvement in an insider trading that resulted in his having to repay nearly $ 1 million. For threats to leave California for tax purposes. For striking a moving ball on the Shinnecock Hills green at the US Open.
It has also long been the subject of ardent coverage beyond its six majors. For the $ 100 tips at lemonade stands. For paying for the college education of former NFL player Conrad Dobler’s daughter when she heard that Dobler’s wife was paraplegic. For college scholarships for children of fallen soldiers.
According to the testimony, Mickelson was defrauded of $ 500,000. According to his Twitter feed, he felt even more betrayed by the newspaper.
âI was stiffened by 500,000 20 years ago? I don’t give a $ & @ for that, âhe snorted in one of his replies on Twitter. âThese writers hurt the community when they alienate those who bring everyone together. The players, sponsors, volunteers, and charities all lose. The players are no longer coming, are not helping the charities and sponsors are going. “
Mickelson – the biggest name at the Detroit Golf Club – was little more than a name in the trial. He was the victim. And then he did everything to make himself a victim of the media. It’s a simple trick to get fans on your side that, as one of the most popular players in the game, he doesn’t even need.
The guy who once used a 64-degree wedge who broke out a driver that acted more like a 2-wood at the PGA Championship found a new weapon in Detroit: Twitter.
“I’ve always used it for entertainment, trying to put out funny little clips here and there,” Mickelson said. “If something happened this week, it was nice to have a voice.”
He tied for 74th place, but not before donating $ 100,000 to the Detroit Children’s Foundation. “I enjoyed my time here,” he said.
Will he come back? Chances are the Rocket Mortgage Classic will survive without him.
Mickelson was to enjoy this long dawn on a wonderful career. He is fit as always thanks to the coffee diet he started two years ago.
He’s in talks for the Ryder Cup at 51, though he’ll likely need at least another big week. He’s only got one top 20 placement this year, and it was as big as it gets because it made him the oldest champion in golf.
He went to Colonial a week after the PGA Championship and opened on a 73. When asked about his round, Mickelson said, âI didn’t play well. I shot 3 over. But I won the PGA.
That feeling should have lasted the rest of the year, if not longer.