by Jeff Skinner
While Tiger Woods avoided the media center and declined to take part in a pre-tournament press conference, instead posting a video on his website, Phil Mickelson took a few minutes to sit down and answer real questions at The Wells Fargo Championship yesterday.
Phil is never one to miss a chance at the wise crack either, “Didn’t you guys see my video?” he asked the collective media before he got to the microphone.(Click here for the link to The Golf Channel video.) For the next fifteen minutes Phil entertained the press with his honest and thoughtful answers. Unlike Tiger, Phil and the rest of the tour for that matter embraces the press and shows that for the most part it’s a painless process.
During his session he still insisted that his play on the fourth hole at The Masters wasn’t a mental error or even poor strategy, he wanted his ball left and he just hit it a bit too long. He is always an optimist.
He also said that his Hall of Fame induction speech will be slanted more towards what golf has meant to him as a person rather than his accomplishments on the course. He also wouldn’t mind seeing the induction age moved to 50 instead of 40, especially since he thinks he is playing his best golf and has much more to accomplish.
Later he was asked what was his biggest victory was and surprised many when he said his very first win at the Northern Telecom Open when he was still a student at Arizona State University. He said that win allowed him to go straight to the tour after graduation and start his professional career from a high point instead of struggling through Q-School or the Nationwide Tour.
I find that amazing. He’s won four majors and his first, the 2004 Masters would be the obvious answer or the 2010 Masters with his wife Amy coming back from her fight with breast cancer may have been what we all thought he may say. But not Phil, just like the way he plays golf, he always does the unexpected. And that response was very unexpected. I guess we can always count on Phil to do the unexpected both on and off the course.