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Has Phil Mickelson ruined his legacy on the PGA Tour?

Apart from Tiger Woods, it’s hard to think of a golfer that has entertained on the PGA Tour to the degree that Phil Mickelson has. Has Phil Mickelson ruined his legacy on the PGA Tour?

Ankit Kanaujia
Last updated: 23.02.2022
Has Phil Mickelson ruined his legacy on the PGA Tour?

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Apart from Tiger Woods, it’s hard to think of a golfer that has entertained on the PGA Tour to the degree that Phil Mickelson has. The 51-year-old who affectionately goes by the name of ‘Lefty’, has brought some of the most incredible scenes ever witnessed on a golf course into the living rooms of millions around the globe over the three decades that he has been on tour.

Age hasn’t defied Mickelson’s brilliance either after he made golfing history by becoming the oldest major winner in history after he won the PGA Championship in May 2021, just one month before he turned 51. That was Mickelson in a nutshell, thrilling, defiant, courageous, and outrageously talented.

Up until the start of 2021, the golfer had, in effect, built himself a legacy on the PGA Tour that would guarantee him legendary status long after he retired. Indeed, Phil had created a portfolio of some of the most pulsating moments on the world’s greatest tour and had a special place in the hearts of the supporters. 

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— PGA Championship (@PGAChampionship) May 24, 2021

Saudi Golf League Starts to Cause Friction

A long and drawn-out conversation, however, about joining the new rebel golf tournament which goes by the name of the Saudi Golf League has put that very same legacy in incredible jeopardy. It should be stressed that it’s not up to the public to decide whether or not Mickelson should be having these conversations with the new tournament organizers and there has to be leeway given to players to make their own choices regarding the best interest of their careers. With this in mind, Mickelson hasn’t done anything wrong by getting as much information as possible about this new enterprise. 

The problem, however, is that Mickelson has tried to use his participation in the new breakaway league as means of leveraging the PGA Tour into giving him more, or at least, bending into shape to suit his personal needs. Ultimately, it seems a wild and reckless thing to do to an organization that has handed Mickelson over $94 million in prize money over the course of his career. 

Indeed, you’re left feeling uncomfortable and wondering about Mickelson’s sense of loyalty to a tour that has afforded him a life that defies description. There’s little doubt that this betrayal has been felt throughout the PGA Tour and in particular, has hit the fans the hardest as any involvement in the new Super Golf League would have meant Mickelson would never get to play in front of American crowds again. 

Notably, it will be intriguing to see how the Augusta National crowd receives the three-time Masters winner in April when he arrives back at a course where he has, historically, always enjoyed a strong connection with the crowds given how much pizzazz he plays with at this famous old course. Revealingly, the most recent US Masters betting actually prices Mickelson at odds of 85/1 to make it four green jackets, which is quite astonishing when you consider that he will be 52 in June.

— The Masters (@TheMasters) April 4, 2019

Will the relationship with the Augusta National patrons still be there or has Lefty burnt his bridges?

Time will tell but you do feel that Phil Mickelson is in for a year on the PGA Tour where he is constantly reminded about his actions by a golfing public that once adored him.

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