Thanks Phil

Thanks, Phil

Dear Mr. Mickelson:

I could spend some time thanking you for the obvious: for giving us golf aficionados some tremendous thrills during your recent Masters win; it was special to watch. Yeah–you shot magnificently off the pine straw, maneuvered around trees, and ended the tournament with a birdie. In fact, I’m sure MANY people are thankful right now as they’ll always be able to say that they saw you in your prime at your absolute best. But let me extend my own personal thanks just a tad further.

Thanks, Lefty, for hanging tough over the years and showing many of us the power of perseverance. You were once known to the masses as “the best golfer to never win a major”; that all changed when you became a Masters champion back in 2004. Oh, how an 18-foot birdie can change one’s life, huh? Thank you for not resting on your laurels as you followed that up with a PGA Championship win the following year at Baltusrol along with another Masters victory in 2006. Sure, there was the mental meltdown at Winged Foot shortly thereafter–but you never let that affect your positive demeanor both on and off the course. In fact, that’s something you’ve ALWAYS impressed me with, Phil–your even-tempered presence–even though I KNOW you’ve probably wanted to offer some choice expletives over the years after errant tee shots. Yes, you’ve taken the high road–and I thank you for that.

Thank you, Phil, for always being classy/cooperative during various TV interviews. You’re the model for how one should handle the press after finishing a round of golf–whether it’s shooting a 66 or 76. Yeah–I guess the expression is “even keel”–a sometimes elusive quality for ALL of us. And thanks for becoming a little “looser” with the crowds over the past few years, Lefty, as they now see you as a more REAL, approachable individual; yes, even though you’re a very rich man, it’s not too difficult anymore to think of you as one of “us”, Phil.

Yes–and thanks for the mental toughness you’ve shown in the face of true adversity, Phil. You proved that in gargantuan fashion a few weeks back as health issues plagued your family; yeah–you were playing for just a bit more than another green jacket. I know what it’s like, Phil, to see one’s own Mom deal with cancer; to see your wife go through a well-publicized battle with the same dreaded disease has tested the depths of your overall strength. Yeah, I know–a bit tougher than chipping from the fringe to within a couple inches, huh? Thanks, Phil, for showing such compassion and true devotion as you suspended your PGA schedule in support of these two beautiful women; yeah, I guess family means a LOT more to you than a certain other golfer I have in mind. And thanks, Lefty, for always being so loyal to your better-half, Amy. Your only “conquests” over the years have been limited to names like Pebble Beach, Bay Hill, and Augusta–and NOT names such as Cori, Jamie, and Holly. I’m sure at this juncture, Phil, your wife appreciates your devotion more than you’ll ever know.

And as a Connecticut resident, Phil, I’d like to thank you for showing up to the tournament here in Hartford a few times–unlike some other egotistical scoundrel who’s given the impression that he’s WAY above gracing the TPC in Cromwell with his presence. When I was able to talk to you for a minute or two when you won here back in 2002, you were nothing but cordial and sincere–offering me your hand when we were done chatting on your way to the practice range. You seem to “get it”, Mr. Mickelson; yeah, I assume you DO like to pile up wins just as much as Windermere, Florida’s most famous resident–but you have some personality and class, too.

Thank you, Lefty, for you continued charitable efforts; yeah, I know there are many wealthy individuals who do similar, kind acts, but your sincerity truly seems genuine. It’s not just a smokescreen, tax write-off, or PR thing with you; the Phil and Amy Mickelson Foundation has made FAMILY its number one priority–with an interest in strengthening bonds by supporting a variety of youth and family initiatives. For some reason, I think a certain guy with the new nickname of “Cheetah” cannot quite relate to the whole “family” thing–at least not yet.

Finally, Phil, thank you for showing that one CAN still remain grounded in the midst of immense celebrity status. You’re just that “regular guy” who happens to be a tremendous golfer–and NOT the other way around. Golf means a lot to you, but FAMILY means more. The tears shed between Amy and yourself shortly after you emerged victorious at Augusta earlier this month were symbolic of MUCH more than the joy of winning yet another tournament. No, that emotional moment–at least on Amy’s part–had more to do with how great an INDIVIDUAL you are than how you “mastered” another tough golf course.

Thanks, Phil Mickelson, for having carried yourself in such an upstanding way over the years–more accurately, the RIGHT way.

About the Author

Bob Lazzari

Bob Lazzari is an award-winning sports columnist for both Connecticut's Valley Times and NY Sports Day--where his "Sports Roundup" column is featured weekly. He is a member of the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance and host of "Monday Night Sports Talk" --a cable television show on CTV/Channel14 in Connecticut. A Fordham grad, Bob is a regular contributor to ESPN Radio's "Inside Yankee Baseball"; he can also be heard weekly every Tuesday morning on WXLM/104.7 FM in New London, CT. He has a popular blog where many of his past columns have been archived.

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