July 14, 2014
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
- Phil Mickelson returned the Claret Jug to Peter Dawson, the chief executive of the R&A, on Monday. (Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
HOYLAKE, England -- As a five-time major champion, Phil Mickelson has had possession of some of the game's most iconic bounty, for a year, at least, and not surprisingly, he has some interesting stories to tell.
The first time Mickelson won the Masters, he was famously photographed wearing the Green Jacket while going through the drive-through at the Krispy Kreme on Washington Road in Augusta, Ga. Not that he'd be making that visit now, of course.
"(That win) was pre-arthritis," Mickelson said with a grin. "I've had to change a lot of stuff since I came down with that. I've had to change diet, exercise, drinking -- I haven't had a soda in years."
Next came the Wanamaker Trophy, although at 28 inches tall and a hefty 27 pounds, the gleaming silver PGA Championship trophy that accompanied his 2005 triumph at Baltusrol was a tad more difficult to tote around.
Now, the Claret Jug, which Mickelson won a year ago at Muirfield, was much more portable. So he has been able to share it with family, friends, corporate partners and fans -- which made returning the trophy on Monday that much harder.
"It was fun to see the faces of the people that have such respect and reverence for the game of golf and this championship, and what it means to be able to take a picture with it or drink a sip out of it," Mickelson said.
Some of those sips went down awfully smoothly, too. Mickelson stressed "only the good stuff" was allowed to be poured in -- and out -- of the Claret Jug.
"And each person that I brought it to had a different definition of what the good stuff was," he said. "... One of my friends, their definition of the good stuff was a bottle of 1990 Romanee-Conti wine.
"Now, I didn't know what it was when I drank it. I just knew that it was really good, and that was the best bottle that was ever put in there."
And at an estimated $19,000-25,000 per bottle, it should have been.