April 12th, 2010
02:00 PM ET

Phil’s victory perfect tonic for Tiger hype

Come on. Admit it. When you saw Phil Mickelson embrace his cancer-suffering wife Amy after clinching a third Masters title, you had a tear in your eye didn’t you? Or at least a lump in your throat, surely?

Phil Mickelson could not contain his emotions after he claimed his third Masters title.
Phil Mickelson could not contain his emotions after he claimed his third Masters title.

After the endless stream of copy and airtime about Tiger Woods’ off-course “distractions”, here was a player who really had something other than golf to worry about.

Tiger’s performance, in his first tournament for five months, was erratic and impressive but it didn’t tell us anything new about him. We already knew he was a genius golfer. That’s why he’s the world number one.

But there is something even more compelling about the way Mickelson plays the game. Officially, his nickname is “Lefty,” but there are less flattering alternatives that paint the Californian as shallow and arrogant.

I don’t see that. I’ve only interviewed him once, many years ago, and I agree he’s sure of himself. He knows he has a special talent for the game and he’ll back himself against anyone, anytime, on any course.

Often in his career, he has fallen short of his own lofty expectations of himself. That’s why he was the “best-player-without-a-major” for so long but Mickelson bounced back – like a dog refusing to give up his favorite ball.

During the final round at Augusta, Phil looked like a man possessed, spraying the ball everywhere, lashing at every shot; a swash-buckling cavalier wielding his clubs like weapons.

Yet, when you look at his scorecard you’ll see he didn’t drop a single shot – truly astonishing. And the commentators are right to highlight Phil’s second to the par-5 13th. Down the years, this has been less a golf hole and more a graveyard for the hopes of prospective champions – their dreams drowned in Rae’s creek.

His ball was on pine needles. He was facing a narrow gap between the trees and the water in front of the green. But Mickelson still went for it. He always does.

And this time, his sheer joy for the game of golf didn’t hurt him. It rewarded him, with the joy of another major triumph. A joy that not only lifted his heart but also, for a short while, let the whole Mickelson family forget the other battles they are fighting.

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Filed under:  Golf
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Frank Clingo

    Why shouldn't Tiger be forgiven.He grew up in the era of Bill Clinton. If the president can do ,why can't I?Former President Clinton now charges obscene amounts for his
    supposed wisdom about word affairs.So if he can be forgiven why can't Tiger?

    April 12, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Reply
  2. Andy

    I am glad Tiger didn't win, if he would have won than there is no justice in the world. We have always been taught if you do good deed good things will come your way, so Tiger if you mess around than you pay the price.

    April 12, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Reply
  3. JudyB

    Why mention Tiger's name in someone else's story. What a let down.

    April 12, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  4. john ramsey

    like every1 says,he human,no1s perfect,but he sure did loose alot of respect...just like all the famous people,or men who have affairs,it will be forgotten,but not forgiven in time...

    April 12, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  5. RCBinTN

    I like watching good golf, and the Masters final round yesterday was about as good as it gets. The human interest stories make it even more interesting. The reason it's so good is everybody has a different story. Tiger and Phil are both great golfers, but very different people. You will never make Tiger into a Phil, so might as well stop trying and just enjoy his golf.

    April 12, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  6. Frederick

    Tiger's game was on the whole unimpressive. the driving was erratic and putting unreliable. His shots around the green were fairly pedestrian. And yet with all that he still ended up tied for 4th! A week ago I said I would be happy if he makes top five. I think the Master's still demonstrated that even with a five-month lay-off Tiger is still the player to beat.

    April 12, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Reply
  7. Peter Aji

    Despite all that has happened,Tiger wood still remain the best.All his enemies should shout their big mouth and allow the fine boy to be.Up Tiger!!

    April 12, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  8. Sency

    Kharma prevailed – the fans are very happy for Phil


    April 12, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  9. Joanna

    Two wrongs make a right?

    April 12, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Reply
  10. wingman

    I don't think Alex wrote this article

    April 12, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  11. A. Weitz

    Jeez....what a beautiful piece of reporting. Truly added-value. Like a breath of fresh air. Well done. I learnt something about Mickelson, about the game, and about humanity.

    April 12, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Reply
  12. thilanka

    read this

    April 12, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Reply
  13. Mike

    The only person who can forgive Tiger is Elin ... he did nothing to me

    April 12, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  14. Duh!2themedia

    The 'Masters' should be about the game of golf...period. The players' personal lives should be just that...personal. Not who did who, who commited a crime, who is ill or any other 'family drama'. It should be about the game itself. The focus shouldn't have been on Tiger in the first place and it shouldn't be on Mickelson's wife. It should be on the 'GREAT 'game Mickelson played and justly won.

    April 12, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Reply
  15. Yehoshua

    Phil won, but he did NOT beat Woods, Woods did, he gave up on himself and attacked himself from within, to punish himself, the grammar of which is reaally claer, it screams "see I bad." This is exile's 101 mechanism of cooperation, that doubles down, guilt in the act(s) and after, even more. Bleassings, YehoshuaYa'acov

    April 12, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  16. wingman

    What a miserable self obsessed man Woods is. Coming off the 18th he reluctantly gave a miserable interview which showed no humility or praise for Phil. A truly egoistical loser indeed.

    April 12, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  17. Nation

    I was impressed with Phil's golfing. However, as a person who believes in the family, it was more of a joy to see his beloved by his side after the win. I got teary eyed. I will be praying for the family and I thank God he won. God bless you!

    April 12, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Reply
  18. Yehoshua

    Tiger's problem is forgiving himself. Phil won, but he did NOT beat Woods, as, he gave up on himself, by attacked himself.

    As was/is still clear ofr all to see, to punish himself, the grammar of which is reaally clear, as it screams "see I bad."

    This is exile's 101 mechanism of cooperation, that doubles down, with guilt for the act(s) of infidelity, and after, even more.

    Blessings, YehoshuaYa'acov

    April 12, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  19. Pam

    Really? Another lame political comment from the wacky right? This is golf, dude. Get over it. You people are OCD...just cause you're losers. Grow up.

    April 12, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Reply
  20. Banff Boy

    Kudo's to Phil – let's forget about Tiger and his tribulations, let him get on with life and the game. His problems were self inflicted, he'll get over it, and the scribes need to get over it. Phil's distractions are beyond his control and he is to be commended for rising to the occasion. Tiger had a little pout after the game but if I was asked some of the brainless questions from the sportscasters, I'd probably have more than a little pout. Great performance from all of the participants in the Master's – very entertaining golf!

    April 12, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Reply
  21. Thomas Chemelil

    We should leave Woods alone to sort his marriage. Wole Soyinga , the Nigerian Nobel Laureatte should have told him that a Tiger does not parade it's tigritude the way he did!

    April 12, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Reply
  22. Brian

    Not too long ago Phil was being criticised (like Tiger is now). Now all of a sudden he is a 'hero'. When will we realise that these men are only human. They play golf well and should be praised for that. Don't attempt to put them on pedestals.

    April 12, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Reply
  23. granbo

    Don't worry Frank, Woods will go on over the next decade to win many tournaments whether people ignore him or not, he is too good a player not to do so.

    April 12, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Reply
  24. LM

    Dear Frank:
    Just because someone else did something wrong it doesn't make it right. Tiger Woods' woes are his own private problem. However, it's important that we don't treat him or any other "icon" as a role model. This is a man who is very good at hitting a small ball with a stick, no more and no less.
    I am not a golfer and don't really care about his skills, but I don't want my kids to admire him (or any other morally flawed characters) as a person.
    The perfect image manufactured for him by his PR handlers was a role model for children. If your role model is an adulterer, does it mean it's OK to be one? And if Tiger is forgiven, why should John Doe not be forgiven? This is the bad example we risk if we quickly forget about Mr. Woods' behavior and turn him into a popular icon again. I am sorry, but adultery, especially habitual adultery like what Mr. Woods engaged in, is not a forgivable, minor escapade. It is a selfish, despicable act that hurts families and destroys marriages.

    April 12, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Reply
  25. May P

    Why should Tiger be forgiven? Tiger is a bad sportsman, as his conduct over the weekend proved. I suspect that in due time Tiger will be up to his old tricks (no pun intended). Phil showed us all that winning is so much sweeter when you have someone to share it with.

    April 12, 2010 at 6:35 pm | Reply
  26. J.K. Williams

    With the US's track record of attacking and harassing celebrities, it doesn't surprise me one bit at the hypocritical Americans who are really only envious of the vast amounts of money Tiger has made. Millions of Americans ar unfaithful, so get over it.

    April 12, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Reply
  27. Victor

    @Frank Clingo

    I don't see anything in this article about Bill Clinton or Tiger woods indescreations or forgiveness or anything life that. This article is about Phil Mickelson and his victory at the Master's.

    No one said anything about what you're referring to, so go troll some other messages boards looking for chances to make a politicial statement. Contrary to what you think, no one is interested in your random babbling where you try to insult someone who was president 10 years ago.

    April 12, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Reply
  28. David Pensinger

    Got news for you. He already HAS been forgiven. People aren't going to give a damn about his wife for very long. With the TV ratings that he has brought this weekend he has proven he is more important to people than any sex scandal that comes his way. In many peoples minds he has ALREADY paid his dues. People just want to see him play. The tour is never the same without him

    April 12, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Reply
  29. Jack G

    Tiger said it best in his post masters interview. "I think everyone is making to big a deal out of it" , for his on the course behavior. off teh course i think everyone needs to lay off. none of our business. half the people judging him are cheating on their wives too. He is a great golfer, lets just stick to that. As for Phil. I was happy as hell to see him win the masters. His beautiful wife standing there waiting for him. Rather Phil win yesterday than tiger. lets just all move on. past is the past. and we love tiger for his golfing, and charity. none of us knew what happened in his home before this, no reason we should now.

    April 12, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Reply
  30. Dr. Alejandro Read

    OLE MI NIÑO!!!!!!!!!

    April 12, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Reply
  31. George

    Phil is class. Tiger is a phony.

    April 12, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Reply
  32. bw

    Clinton? Bit of a reach. Who said don't fogive him?

    April 12, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  33. Spendlove


    – This article wasn't about Tiger and it wasn't about former US President Bill Clinton, it was about a third Masters win for Mickelson. Congrats Phil on your victory, it was well played.

    April 12, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Reply
  34. Gerald McGrath

    yes, it was agreat victory for MICKLESON especially with his family problems to worry about. He is truly a star player and desvered to win.

    April 12, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Reply
  35. DENISE


    April 12, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Reply
  36. Abs

    Tiger hype? all the PGA players owe it to him for what he has done for the tour! the ratings for the masters was 50% higher as people wanted to watch. This equals money for all of the players including Phil. The guy has not played in 5 months, had two bad rounds, and still finishes 4th. Most players don't make the cut when they have bad rounds. Phil played well and won. I don't get the title of this article!

    April 12, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Reply
  37. Chris

    The irony, of course, is the blog post should have focused exclusively on Mickelson if the writer had any credibilty. The mere mention of a 4th place finisher minimizes the accomplishment of the 1st place winner.

    enough with the sanctimony- can we move on?

    April 12, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Reply
  38. Jim Schutz

    This is a gentelman's game. I always has been. Sure there have been some colorful (players with issues) players like John Daley. But a true gentleman won the game a family man who knows whats important in life "Family"

    April 12, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Reply
  39. DEAN

    Like someone said, stop with all the tiger gossip. This is about a player rising above a different kind of personal struggle. Congrats, Phil, a TRUE champion.

    April 12, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Reply
  40. Andy Read

    Forgiveness isn't the point. The love of the game is and Mickelson showed it. His love for his stricken wife also compared very favourably with Tiger, beating him on both points, don't you think?

    April 12, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Reply
  41. Ann

    "Tiger my Hero" am stil proud of you. I like your confidence & thats why you're stil my winer. well done phil but Tiger is stil the man, wasn't expecting that 4th place.

    April 12, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Reply
  42. Jim Bradshaw

    Here's a question for you all to ponder. Why do you care about something that should remain betwwen a man and his wife? It's a retorical question; I already know the answer.

    April 12, 2010 at 9:57 pm | Reply
  43. jerry kasmauski

    Tiger woods showed in his interview why he hasn,t changed and is still a person that has no love for his fan,s and only for himself.

    April 12, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Reply
  44. MCS

    America is a land of double standards esp. when it comes to media people. They will put people on the pedastle when they do well and helps them to sell news, but when they are down, they rip into them to make themselves look like they can do no wrong. I watch CNN sports every day and people like Justine Armsden's reporting makes me want to switch the TV off. A good example of his reporting arrogance is when he interviewed a true F1 legend in light of Lewis Hamilton's team asking him to lie about something.

    April 12, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Reply
  45. Jewel

    What's all these talks about Tiger Wood and his family affairs? The world should plz leave Wood alone cos he is not the first man to have extra-marital affairs. Thank God he realized his mistakes and made ammends.

    April 12, 2010 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  46. mesfen

    Tiger haven't won the tournament but he make the master more interesting...think if he was absent would the master become more successful or less.....let us be honest the golf need Tiger more than Mickelson....Respect for Tiger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 12, 2010 at 11:01 pm | Reply
  47. sunday

    What right do we have to keep judging,criticising or even talking about forgiveness of Tiger woods. are we GOD?
    The man wronged his family and loved ones, they are the ones to forgive him if any one has a right to outside GOD.
    He is a great golfer and probably the greatest that ever lived and kudos to the fans who were understanding during the whole tornament and cheered him and all the other golfers on.
    Mickelson wrightfully and fairly one and i pray God answers his prayers and spares his wife and Mother,i really do respect this man,he is areal champ.
    Afetr all he went through,to even have a chance,even if so slim of winning on the final day, was victory in itself

    April 12, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Reply
  48. Tom Johnson

    This is exactly the type of journalism I despise.

    'Phil's victory perfect tonic for Tiger hype'

    Well. whose responsible for the Tiger hype, Alex Thomas? Not Tiger Woods. It's the likes of you and other cheap headline grabbers so desperate for readers, that you never miss an opportunity to shoe horn Tiger into your copy.

    Here's a tip for free: when acknowledging a fine victory and a moving story about Phil Mickelson discuss Phil Mickelson not Tiger Woods and then the hype, as you call it, might die down.

    April 12, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Reply
  49. Sam Andraos

    Yow??? what's with you Frank??? Alex is talking about a great man named Phil MIchelson !!
    This is time to recognize the Good person in the great athlete not the bad person in the fantastic athlete!

    April 13, 2010 at 12:32 am | Reply
  50. Jason Ehlo

    Tiger Woods will never be forgiven. He was put on a pedestal and he let the whole world down. Shame on the PGA Tour for putting all their eggs in one basket. I hope he never wins another tournament.

    April 13, 2010 at 12:50 am | Reply
  51. betty duncan

    frankly tigers private life is not significent to me ,it should not be any part of his sports prowess or failure..Way to many people should focus their prurient interests on themselves and mind their own business..

    April 13, 2010 at 12:52 am | Reply
  52. Steven Ng

    Tiger will come back more strongly for the next major.
    the lost in Augusta is only a slight set back.....

    April 13, 2010 at 1:16 am | Reply
  53. samiam

    Please say it, don't be afraid, we all celebrated that the guy who decided to be faithful to his wife,even when she is sick, won the tornament.

    April 13, 2010 at 1:22 am | Reply
  54. FredFromOhio

    Congrats to Phil, and Lee Westwood played so well too.

    I never liked watching Tiger, he's never fun to watch. Too spoiled, foul mouthed, angry, throwing or at least slamming down clubs. Nothing fun or inspiring about him. I like watching somebody I can root for.
    I never liked him to start with so I'm not surprised and don't care about his personal problems.

    April 13, 2010 at 1:53 am | Reply
  55. Ann

    Way to go Phil. Brilliantly played.

    Hey Tiger! Nice come back. WIthout a doubt you are very talented.

    But did you watch how Phil handled the win and went up to his wife upon finishing? Too bad if you did not, as you would have learned the appropriate way a true man's man should act towards his wife.

    April 13, 2010 at 3:09 am | Reply
  56. Gabrielle

    Don't mention Tiger here. Focus on Michelson. He is great!
    But if someday, he shed tears on the shoulder of a female friend, what would happen then?

    April 13, 2010 at 5:55 am | Reply
  57. James Wang

    Tiger build on and profited off his carefully packaged image; whether he liked it or not(I wouldn't bet on the later). He abused his power and stature, at the same time, made choices deliberately against what he supposedly represented: excellence, class, values...etc., etc....
    I don't think it is important whether or not to forgive this person. What we should take from this, and to our children, is the lesson on how we the public should not be easily influenced by media-made heros.

    April 13, 2010 at 6:14 am | Reply
  58. BRIGHT

    The record is there to see and even a little kid knows that, and i edge Tiger to now embrace who he is because no matter what he will never be welcome. Go Tiger.

    April 13, 2010 at 6:50 am | Reply
  59. jorgen friis

    Tiger came, saw and whilst not conquering did enough to show that he still knows how to play golf. I am sure once he has buried his demons he will be back with a vengeance. In fairness I think he did better than what most had expected. That "Lefty" should win the jacket was somewhat of a surprise to me. However, what we all can agree upon is his outstanding skills which. unfortunately. havent matched with his career results. It is hoped this win will open the door for many future wins. Whilst no one can argue his qualifications I find it difficult to be euphoric about Lefty. I find him bland, totally boring and with a total lack of charisma. I would suggest a total make-over that would endear him to many more people and increase his fan base and so as to make it real cool to watch him. I wish his family well.

    April 13, 2010 at 8:23 am | Reply
  60. pspsup

    why? lets see . cause the press was told to "drop it" .. Clinton was never forgiven he was " forgotten "

    April 13, 2010 at 10:03 am | Reply
  61. markd2091

    Well done Phil. Phil is a gentleman and is always willing to sign autographs for the fans. He is a credit to the game and to the golf world. Tiger is a crazed manaic and has no time for the fans. I have
    been to many golf tournaments and had many autographs signed by many players for charities. I had even have Ben Hogans autograh before he died. Tiger is great golfer, but he can't even fill one of Phils,Fred Couples, Davis Loves shoes. Tiger can win many tournaments, but he will never be able to out due the king. Arnold Palmer has done more for golf than Tiger can do in his life time .Tiger is for himself and his charities and not for the game of golf or the fans of golf. I have stated to friends that i would never waste my time trying to get Tigers autograh. He is so arrogant he thinks he is above all people.

    April 13, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Reply
  62. John Mac

    Seriously, anyone who holds any sports figure to a higher moral standard than any of us average joes should get their compass checked.

    Did they swear or guarantee to any of us or their fans that they would never do wrong? They are not in political office, representing voters who entrusted them with powers to change laws and expect them to live a morally upright life. Far from it- sports stars are only famous because they are the best at their game. Those of you who expect them to be better than the rest of the dishonest, lying, cheating, public need to check again: Just what contract did Tiger sign to guarantee us that he would not do wrong? He has no more moral responsibility than the rest of us. Its just that he lives in a glass house and everyone can see his mistakes. Imagine if that happened to each of us? I bet not many stones would be thrown.

    April 13, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Reply
  63. KIRBY

    Good for Phil and his family... Phil establish a great victory because he plays better tha the other players in the field; but the play of TW is remarkable because he has a lot of presion, a lot of bad feelings of the some people and for some golf comunicators (incluiding Bill Payne)... obviously he has a tremendous future for a redemption to his fans and his family (mostly the last one)... TW is one of the greatest players in the worl... he brings evryting in the play of golf for the people that follow the golf...and he dont deserve tha any one talk about his personal life... this is only beetwen he and his wife.

    April 14, 2010 at 10:57 pm | Reply

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