Phil Mickelson is completely out of place at the Masters

Ian O’Connor


April 5, 2023 | 8:35 p.m

AUGUSTA, GA. – Bob Mocsulewski, a Phil Mickelson fan from western Massachusetts, leans on the Augusta National ropes on the eighth fairway and shouts thanks to his fellow lefty for signing his hat at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut.

The Travelers PGA Tour is known for its fan-friendly, player-friendly experience, but when he was a member of the tour, Mickelson went the extra mile. Bill always expanded himself with paying customers, earning his popularity and unofficial title as the Arnold Palmer of his generation.

“Hey Bill, I was there when you signed autographs for everybody after a round at the Travelers in Hartford,” Mochsulewski yelled Wednesday.

“Thank you, sir,” replied Mickelson, who signed off.

“No thanks,” replied the 74-year-old fan. “God bless you.”

Moczulewski and his friend Bob Pialo from New Hampshire explained that Mickelson did not leave Connecticut that day until every autograph request was fulfilled.

“He stayed a full hour,” Mochsulewski said. “I mean, who else does?”

nobody is here. Mickelson has always been a regular signing for kids and adults, even after his most crushing US Open losses (see Winged Putt, 2006 and Bethpage, 2009). When Mickelson won his first major at the 2004 Masters and again at Augusta National in 2006 and 2010, the timing and his go-for-proc style shook the earth.

Phil Mickelson
Bob Strong/UPI/Shutterstock

Even in Tiger Woods’ prime he was the people’s choice, a fact that makes his current status in the sport a sad, sad thing. Ever since Mickelson took Saudi’s money and played LIV golf, he’s looked like a ghost. He has become Golpe’s answer to Macbeth.

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Her extreme weight loss has only hardened the image of a diminutive star. As Mickelson practiced on the green Wednesday following his nine holes with fellow LIV member Harold Warner III, two longtime golf fans asked each other, “Is that him? Is that Phil? Is that so?”

It was reported that it was actually a 52-year-old lefty, and one of them said, “He’s lost a lot of weight.” The other replied, “He is very old.”

Mickelson will be 50 when he wins the 2021 PGA Championship. It’s a remarkable bookend for a storied career that began as a 20-year-old amateur in 1991 with his PGA Tour victory, his first at 45. All he had to do was smell the amethysts to retire from here.

But Mickelson put the legacy up for sale and found a taker at a reported price of $200 million. It was the ultimate unforced error, and Mickelson paid dearly for it. After calling his future Saudi business partners “terrible mother——” and exiled himself from the 2022 Masters and the game, Mickelson has been thrust into utter disrepair on a circuit that doesn’t award world ranking points. Only a precious few actually follow.

Phil Mickelson takes a swing during a practice round at the Masters.

Former Phil the Thrill, now ranked 425th in the world, sits 42nd in the individual LIV standings, which list only 49 participants. His team, the High Flyers, sit 10th in the 12-team league. In his two seasons on the LIV Tour, Mickelson has failed to finish inside the top 25 (only 48 players) eight times in 10 starts.

At his age, no one would hold it against the lefty for missing cuts left and right on the PGA Tour. He could have made a few hits on the Tour of Champions, making eye contact with fans and giving them their 15 seconds of fame by signing their programs and hats.

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Instead Mickelson doubles his way into oblivion on a tour where he plays for nothing but a truckload of money. What do you call a Hall of Famer who does that?

“A nutbag,” according to Michaelson’s dear friend Freddie Jody.

Yes, a nutbag who was also the lovable winner of three green jackets.

“It’s fun to come back,” Michelson said Tuesday. “Everyone was wonderful.”

Phil Mickelson prepares for the Masters practice round.

He called it his favorite week of the year, but former Masters winners Fuzzy Zoller and Tommy Aaron told Golfweek that Mickelson stayed with him during the Champions Dinner and didn’t speak all night. It certainly doesn’t look like Bill, who always acts like the smartest guy in the room.

“He’s always been an injector,” said Pialo, a fan from New Hampshire.

Those days are over. During Wednesday’s practice round, when Mickelson wore the High Flyers logo on his hat and shirt and carried the High Flyers name on his bag (Warner’s bag had the Golf Southey logo), one of his fans from the Northeast wondered why the lefty would. This is a terrible career choice.

Harold Warner III and Phil Mickelson tee off on the first hole during a practice round for the Masters.

“I grew up on a farm and my parents were very poor,” said Bob Mochsulewski. “I don’t understand that Bill. How much money do you need?”

It’s enough to risk looking like a three-time champion at the Masters once in a while.

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