His corporate sponsor is a public accounting firm. He doesn’t have bulging biceps or the build of an athlete. He isn’t flashy or exciting or the subject of hourly Internet rumors. His day doesn’t include a million reporters tracking his every move.
He’s Phil Mickelson, the winner of the 2010 Masters.
The golf tournament that started out as an ages seventeen-and-up adult redemption story, turned into tear-jerking family film. The happily married man, with his wife by his side, emerged from Tiger Woods’ vast shadow to win his third career Masters and fourth major championship.
The newspaper headlines and ESPN home page stories may belong to Woods, but fans' hearts all went out to Mickelson. After celebrating the win by embracing his wife and his three children, Mickelson talked with reporters.
“I was just really glad she was there…I knew she would be watching. I didn’t know if she would be behind 18. To walk off the green and share that with her is very emotional for us.”
Mickelson came into the Masters without having a top-five finish all year. The first two days were rocky for him. He kept himself in contention, but he was never the favorite. Still, the golfer who has become notorious for folding under pressure, losing his composure when it mattered most, didn’t let the 2010 Masters slip away. The champion ended Sunday shooting a 5-under 67 for a three-stroke to capture the Masters win over runner-up, Lee Westwood.
It was almost poetic justice that Mickelson would be the one to win in Woods’ comeback run. The man who was chastised for not being able to take control of golf when Woods’ was away, decided he didn’t want a token win when the big dog was on hiatus. Rather, he wanted the world’s number one golfer right there in attendance as he put on the green jacket on golf’s biggest stage.
Many seem to conveniently forget that Mickelson has had a terrible year. However, unlike Woods, the Augusta champ didn’t bring the troubles on himself. He has dealt with his wife, Amy, and mother battling with cancer. He has played the role of a supportive husband and son, refusing to milk his troubles for extra publicity. He would do what needed to be done on the golf course, then return to where his heart truly was: his family.
In sports there are good guys and there are bad guys. It usually takes one to see the other. Whether or not Woods is a bad guy is up to the individual to decide. Looking in from the outside, though, it took Woods’ becoming a villain for us to see Mickelson what he really is:
A good guy who just finished first.