Mickelson’s win needs to trump Tiger sagaWritten by Chris Schmidbauer | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Heading into this past weekend’s Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, the main question on everyone’s mind was whether or not Tiger Woods could overcome all of the demons that have plagued him the past few months by winning the coveted tournament.
But it was Phil Mickelson, who has endured quite a different saga these past few months, who was slipping on his third green jacket in the Butler Cabin on the grounds of Augusta National Country Club at the tournament’s end on Sunday evening.
The golfer, who is lovingly referred to as “Lefty” because of his left handed swing, has been on just as harrowing a journey as Woods has been on this past year.
It was announced almost a year ago at this time, that Mickelson’s wife, Amy, with whom he has three children, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 38.
Mickelson took time off of the tour to tend to his family, and after a month, he returned at the St. Jude Classic to prepare for the U.S. Open.
But a month later, Mickelson’s mother, Mary, was found to also have breast cancer. He took time away from the game he loved to support his family again, and once again returned a month later in time for the PGA Championship.
The ordeal that Mickelson and his family have been dealing with since last summer has been overshadowed in the wake of Tiger Woods and his fall from grace after a car accident in the early morning hours of November 27.
With all of the seedy details that have followed, the Woods scandal has loomed over the PGA Tour and golf coverage in general like a hulking black cloud. Everyone wanted to know when, where, and how Tiger would play when he came back from his self imposed exile from the links.
When Woods announced a few weeks ago that he would return at this year’s Masters Tournament, people wondered how he would play, could he win, and if so how much would he leave the rest of the field in his wake.
Tiger was the story morning, noon, and night as he hung around within striking distance of the leaders of the tournament, including Mickelson. But it was the big southpaw who showed strength and resolve in the tournament’s final round and won the coveted green jacket for a third time.
As CBS Sports’ lead announcer Jim Nantz talked to the tournament winner prior to the jacket presentation, Mickelson, voice wavering as he spoke, talked about what the win meant to him and his family.
“We’ve been through a lot this year. It means a lot to share some joy together,” he said to Nantz, adding, “It’s been such an incredible week, an emotional week. And to cap it off with a victory is something I can’t put into words.”
Mickelson’s win and his emotional remarks should go a long way in reminding all of us, who have hung on everyone of Tiger’s words these past few weeks, of what life is really about.
As an engaged man who is also very close to his mother, I can’t imagine for one moment to be dealing with not just one important woman in my life, but two dealing with a deadly disease such as breast cancer.
To be able to focus to do anything in life, let alone play professional golf on one the world’s toughest courses and win, would be a chore to say the least.
But it was Mickelson, who seized the moments when they counted, like his fantastic approach shot from the pine straw on the 13th hole. His win finally diverted our attention from golf’s most dominant story in the history of the sport.
Even as he sunk putt after putt, all one had to do was look at Mickelson’s hat to see where his heart was. The golfer had a pink ribbon, which represents breast cancer awareness, sewn into the side of his cap.
His win will hopefully take some attention away from the Tiger circus, and refocus our attention on the struggles, like cancer, that so many people deal with everyday, and not those problems of the celebrity world that we fantasize about.
Everyone has wondered when the Woods scandal will fade into the background, and my hope is Phil’s heroic performance at Augusta can do that.
I hope this win can provide Mickelson, his wife, his mother, and the rest of the family a much needed distraction from the past year’s events. Let’s just hope Mickelson’s win will also provide the golf world with a distraction and a much needed change in storyline from the events of the past few months.