PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Phil's sister, Tina, dishes on growing up with Phil and his 50th birthday
June 17, 2020
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- June 17, 2020
- Tina Mickelson talks about growing up with Phil and his career. (Courtesy: Tina Mickelson)
Tina Mickelson, the oldest of Phil Sr. and Mary Mickelson’s three children, is quite accomplished in her own right.
She’s a PGA professional. She’s a writer. She’s a corporate public speaker.
Yet she wasn’t prepared for the explosion of attention she received for her turn as an amateur photographer.
It seems she innocently snapped a shot on her iPhone of her brother Phil on a family beach trip in August 2019 and posted it to her Twitter account. And the golf community went nuts.
Love you sis. Such a fun day seeing everyone. FYI ,those weird bumps on the side of my stomach we’ve never seen before, Doc called them obliques and said it’s nothing to worry about.— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) August 21, 2019
“That really, really took me by surprise,” Tina Mickelson said. “It was just a little family outing, and we were camping. You kind of forget people are more interested in certain things than you would ever imagine.
“He had worked so hard all summer on losing weight and all of it is because he wanted keep up with his longevity, and I was proud of him. He’d done a great job of being disciplined.”
Phil Mickelson turned 50 on Tuesday. His “dad bod” is the envy of many his age. He might look better now than he did 15 years ago. That’s the kind of dedication and discipline it takes to be one of the greatest players of all time, and “Lefty” has always had it. Tina can’t remember a time in their household when Phil wasn’t all about golf.
They both played. But Phil was dedicated, to a degree Tina couldn’t appreciate until years later.He would sleep with his clubs next to his bed. There were usually golf balls in the bed. It was the first thing he thought about when he got up and the last thing he thought about when he went to bed and that was just normal to me.
“To me that’s all I knew,” she said. “I didn’t know that other golfers were not as obsessed with the game. He would sleep with his clubs next to his bed. There were usually golf balls in the bed. It was the first thing he thought about when he got up and the last thing he thought about when he went to bed and that was just normal to me.
“He was always wanting to sneak out to the golf course and play instead of doing his chores or his homework. But somehow he always got everything done.”
By now Tina has told the story about Thanksgiving when Phil was 15 or 16 ad nauseam. The Mickelsons were having about 20 people over for dinner in the late afternoon. Phil Sr. and Mary realized at about 11 a.m. during prep time that Phil was nowhere to be found.
Sure enough, he had opted for a quick 18. He figured he’d be home in time to get his assignments done for the big dinner.
“All I knew was I wanted to be there when he got punished,” Tina said. “To that point that was the most brazen thing he had done.”
Instead, Phil sat his parents down and explained that he wanted to be the best player he could be and in order to do that he had to play when he could. Surely other guys were practicing and playing on Thanksgiving, other holidays, early in the morning, until the sun went down. It would take this kind of dedication to reach the pinnacle of the game.
The family was sold. And 44 PGA TOUR wins, five majors and induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame later, they can all rest assured they made the right choice to let him pursue his passion.
“He absolutely loves the game,” Tina said. “When he’s not working at golf he chooses to play golf. It’s not simply about practicing. It’s doing something that he enjoys. Absolutely the game is everything to him. And always has been. It’s part of who he is.”
Mickelson missed the cut at last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Forth Worth, Texas, the first PGA TOUR event since the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to professional sports in America right after the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship on March 12.
Phil was third at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February, but he also has missed more cuts (six) than he has made (four) in the 2019-20 season.
It’s no secret he wants to continue to play on the PGA TOUR. When might he dip his toe on PGA TOUR Champions?
“He definitely recognizes and appreciates the amount of competition there is on the Champions Tour,” Tina said. “And there are a lot of guys that he enjoys spending time with out there.
“It’s not something he’s trying to resist doing. He just wants to at least see how he fares on the PGA TOUR because he knows that time is running out.”