by Jeff Skinner
This has been quite a year in professional golf. For a good portion of the year most of the attention was focused on Tiger Woods and his off course activities. Thankfully that chapter has passed. We have seen a youth movement on the PGA Tour this season. The European Tour and its players have flexed their muscles and continued their resurgence winning all over the world. The LPGA has seen its schedule shrink and watched Lorena Ochoa suddenly retire. The major championships all had their own unique stories. About the only thing you could be sure of was that at the end of the day there would be someone smiling and holding a big trophy.
There is at least one other constant in golf and his name is Phil Mickelson. Phil and his family have had a tough year as we all know but Phil has been able to keep things in perspective. Even with all his family issues he has still managed to carry on in his own special, fan friendly manner. He thrilled us at The Masters with his inspired play and then confounds us other weeks when he misses fairways and two foot putts, but that’s Phil. It is normally hard to tell what kind of day Phil is having on the course because he always seems the same. He smiles and interacts with the galleries, especially the kids, regardless if he is ten over par or coming down the stretch needing a birdie to win.
We have watched him for years and he hasn’t changed. Maybe some time in the future he’ll stop being this generation’s Arnold Palmer but I can’t see it happening. I think he’s the real deal and the people at Golf Magazine think so too. In the October issue they named Phil as “The Golfer of the Year”. With all he does off the course, his dedication to his family and the way he captivates us on the course I couldn’t agree more with Golf Magazine. He’s definitely our golfer of the year.