Just a few weeks into the new year and already Phil Mickelson has had a couple of what he calls “pearls”. These are incidents when he gets stroppy about something, tells everyone about it, and then thinks again. There have been some prize pearls in the past, but let him open his account for this year.
First he wasnt chosen to re-design Torrey Pines North, a course which he has known since his youth and has won several events on. When Tom Weiskopf was chosen over him he didnt hold back. “It is certainly disappointing for me. I dont understand the politics of it all. It’s terrible business practice, it makes no sense, but I’m not bitter about it”.
Following on from this before the Farmers Insurance Open he and brother Tim played a practice round with 17 year old Australian Ryan Ruffell who has just turned professional. Being Phil there was a little financial wager going on and Ruffell told a reporter from the Sydney Morning Herald about it in passing. Whether the reporter exaggerated or not, the figure of $5,000 was mentioned and said “taking his money was pretty cool”.
When Mickelson doesnt like something he often begins “that’s interesting”, and he said that this was. He then said that
“He’s young and he’s got some things to learn. One of them is you dont discuss certain things, you dont embelish and create a false amount for your own benefit. That’s High School stuff. He’s got to stop doing that now he’s out on the PGA Tour”.
So Ryan Ruffell was ticked off publicly. He said the backlash was “difficult, a little added pressure”, but tellingly he made the cut, which Mickelson didn’t. Another day, another drama Phil.
Mickelson’s form under his new Australian coach Andrew Gerson has been patchy – T3 in San Diego and T11 at Phoenix with missed cuts to add to the mix. Nothing like the supreme form of Rickie Fowler who now has much more of Butch Harmon’s attention now he no longer coaches Mickelson. If he’s not winning, these dramatic pearls ensure that Phil gets the attention he so craves, positive or negative.