Phil Mickelson Biography

Phil Mickelson at the 2004 Masters
Phil Mickelson, pictured at the 2004 Masters - site of his first major championship victory. Harry How/Getty Images

Phil Mickelson is one of the most popular and most accomplished golfers of his era, a golfer known for a risk-taking style of play and a great short game.

Date of birth: June 16, 1970
Place of birth: San Diego, California
Nickname: Lefty

PGA Tour Victories:

44 (List of Phil Mickelson wins)

Major Championships:

Professional: 5
• Masters: 2004, 2006, 2010
• British Open: 2013
• PGA Championship: 2005
Amateur: 1
• U.S. Amateur: 1990

Awards and Honors:

• Member, U.S. Ryder Cup team, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018
• Member, U.S. Presidents Cup team, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017
• Member, U.S. Walker Cup team, 1989, 1991
• 4-time collegiate All-American

Trivia:

  • Phil Mickelson is one of only three golfers to win both the NCAA Championship and the U.S. Amateur Championship in the same year. Mickelson did it in 1990. (The other two are Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.)
  • Mickelson is the only left-handed golfer to win a U.S. Amateur championship.
  • Mickelson is far and away the most successful left-handed golfer in history. See Lefties with Most PGA Tour wins.
  • Mickelson has 11 runner-up finishes in majors, second-most behind Jack Nicklaus (19).

Phil Mickelson Biography:

Phil Mickelson is the best left-handed golfer the sport has yet seen. For many years, he was also considered "the best player never to win a major." Many media members and fans believed that Mickelson didn't have the nerve to win a major.

Mickelson proved such naysayers wrong, and validated his place as one of the best of his generation, by winning the 2004 Masters in dramatic fashion. With Ernie Els on the practice green, awaiting what appeared a likely playoff, Mickelson sank a 12-foot downhill birdie putt on the final hole for the victory.

Mickelson grew up in San Diego, California, and began hitting golf balls at 18 months old. Although he's right-handed in everything else, he learned to play golf left-handed. According to Mickelson's website, at "age three, he tried to run away from home because his parents didn't think he was old enough to join his father for a weekend golf game at the local public course."

His junior career was a great one: Mickelson won 34 San Diego County junior titles, three NCAA Championships at Arizona State University, a U.S. Amateur title, and, as of this writing, is the last amateur to win a PGA Tour event (1991 Northern Telecom Open).

Mickelson's first wins as a professional came in 1993, when he won twice. During the 1990s, he was one of only four golfers to win more than 12 times on the PGA Tour. He was among the most consistent players in the world during that time.

He went winless in 2003, but bounced back in 2004 with one win early in the year, followed by his Masters victory. Mickelson also finished second in the U.S. Open, third in the British Open and sixth in the PGA Championship. He won The Masters again in 2006, the 2005 PGA, but infamously bungled the final hole to lose the 2006 U.S. Open.

Mickelson's swing generates great power, and he's known as one of the best short-game players. Often in his career he has fought a push or slice to the left on his tee shots. Early in 2007, he left longtime swing coach Rick Smith to work with Butch Harmon, primarily to improve his driving.

Shortly after making the move Mickelson won the 2007 Players Championship, his first win in that prestigious tournament. While his driving remained spotty under Harmon's guidance, Mickelson kept winning: three times in 2007, twice in 2008, three more PGA Tour wins in 2009. In 2010, he won The Masters for the third time, his fourth overall major and first since the debacle at the 2006 U.S. Open.

In 2013, Mickelson finished second for a record sixth time at the U.S. Open, but a month later won the British Open. He didn't win again until claiming the 2018 WGC Mexico Championship at age 47.

Mickelson flies his own plane, designs golf courses, and has served as National Co-Chairman for the American Junior Golf Association. In 2010, he announced he is afflicted with psoriatic arthritis.

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