The moment that explains Team Mickelson-Brady
A love of football bonds West Coast-East Coast icons
May 19, 2020
By Mark Cannizzaro, author, Seven Days in Augusta
- May 19, 2020
- Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady share a fond memory created prior to the 2017 Masters. (Getty Images)
Phil Mickelson’s favorite Augusta memory -- other than the three times he’s won the Masters -- took place on a week that was not Masters week. In fact, it barely even involved golf.
The moment came during a trip to Augusta prior to the 2017 Masters.
“Every year, I go back there and I’ll play for a couple of days to get ready before the tournament week,” Mickelson said. “I’ll get a group of guys -- sometimes it’s Tour pros, sometimes it’s members of the club, sometimes it’s a mixture. But before one Masters a couple years ago, I went with Jimmy Dunne and Tom Brady. And we all went and worked out in the morning and Brady said, ‘Hey listen, I’ve got to go throw to [Patriots receiver Julian] Edelman next week. I always like to throw a little bit and keep my arm sharp. Do you mind catching a few passes?’”
The odds of Mickelson saying no – well, he wasn’t going to say no. He grew up a massive fan of the San Diego Chargers, his hometown team, and follows the NFL closely. He was once part of a group that bet the Baltimore Ravens to win the Super Bowl prior to the 2001 season. (Yep, it happened.) And now he was being asked to work out with future Pro Football Hall of Famer Tom Brady, with whom he will take on Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning in Capital One’s “The Match: Champions for Charity” at Florida’s Medalist Golf Club this coming Sunday.
“So I’m like, ‘Hell yeah. Let’s do this,’” Mickelson continued. “It’s 7:20 in the morning and half dark out, he’s throwing these passes to me and I’ve never seen a football come in this hard. I’ve played catch with some guys with good arms and stuff, but this ball is whistling at me and I’m only catching the last half of it. He’s just throwing, just working on it, but he’s got such ground force with his feet and his shoulder and the ball just comes in 25 yards away and there’s just no drop.
BOOK EXCERPT: SEVEN DAYS IN AUGUSTA
“Seven Days in Augusta: Behind the Scenes at The Masters” -- the new book by author and longtime golf writer Mark Cannizzaro – spans everything from the Par 3 Contest to Amen Corner to Butler Cabin and beyond. This excerpt focusing on the friendship between Phil Mickelson and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is presented with permission from Triumph Books. For more information or to order a copy, please visit Triumph Books, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
“We were down to the left of the 10th hole in the cottages over there where there’s a little gym by the cabins. He’s throwing these things in here at me and I’ve got my fingers bent because I don’t want them to hyperextend. I’m making sure the ball doesn’t hit my palms, because it’ll just bounce off.
“I’m really focused,” Mickelson went on. “Those balls were hard to catch. There were three times the ball hit my palm and all three times I had a nerve shot right through my arm all the way throughout my body from these passes. And yet, it’s one of my favorite moments, because who gets to catch passes from the freaking greatest quarterback of all time? It had an impact on me, because I didn’t realize how hard those balls are coming in and how good those receivers are to catch those things.
“I actually really liked the challenge of it. I just would have liked to do it in daylight when I could see the whole flight of the ball a little bit better.”