1. He’s a risk-taker
Even though his creative impulses on the golf course occasionally lead to disaster, Mickelson has shown he’s capable of shots most golfers wouldn’t even consider. As a competitor, he’s also the consummate entertainer.
2. He’s good for an occasional rant
Whether the topic is course setup, equipment rules, or even state and federal tax laws, Mickelson likes to get stuff off his chest. If nothing else, he gives us all something new to talk about.Related: Phil’s history of unexpected rants
3. He credits his caddie
Mickelson has never lost sight of the role longtime caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay has had in his success, citing as much after his win at Muirfield. “This is really special for both of us,” Mickelson said of Mackay, who’s been on Mickelson’s bag since 1992. “It’s a great accomplishment for us as a team.”Related: What Phil and Bones REALLY talk about
4. His family comes first
Whether it’s flying cross-country on the eve of the U.S. Open to be at his daughter’s middle school graduation or standing by his wife’s side during her battle with breast cancer, Mickelson has long made clear that golf’s importance pales in comparison to that of his wife and three kids.
5. He’s a cut-up at the podium
Mickelson doesn’t just use his interview sessions to get on a soapbox. He also reveals a devilish wit in press conferences. “Castle Stuart was a big win for me,” Mickelson said on Sunday evening, referencing the first of his back-to-back wins in Scotland. “But in seven days it has gone down considerably.”
6. He values his fans
Mickelson isn’t content just to reward audiences with good golf. He acknowledges fans at every turn on a golf course, and has been known to sign autographs tirelessly after a round.
7. The guy’s got crazy skills
No player in golf, and that includes Tiger Woods, has the shotmaking talent and creativity that Mickelson has — only some of which he calls upon in tournament play.Related: Phil plays a backwards wedge shot at Muirfield
8. He’s built like a regular guy
He may be a world-class athlete, but Mickelson’s physique is … well, not the physique of a world-class athlete. Although he’s stepped up his attention to fitness and nutrition in recent years, Mickelson’s occasional struggles with excess baggage is something many fans can relate to.
9. That hair!
We’re not sure if we like it. But we like the fact that HE likes it. More to the point, we like that Phil keeps his hair long because his wife said she prefers it that way. Even five-time major champs have a boss to answer to.