Connect with us

Opinion & Analysis

Q&A: Mickelson on his career goals, why he won’t be running for office



You can wear out a dictionary looking for adjectives that describe Phil Mickelson. Mesmerizing. Galvanizing. Polarizing. Agonizing. But he will never be accused of being boring.

With 42 PGA Tour wins and five majors to his credit, Mickelson is one of the most accomplished and most popular golfers ever to play. The soon to be 47-year-old Hall of Famer (his birthday falls during this year’s U.S. Open at Erin Hills) is still contending on a Tour that is increasingly dominated by players young enough to be his son.

Mickelson sat down with GolfWRX for a little one on one during his stop to promote The Greenbrier Classic. The July PGA Tour event is making its return after a one-year hiatus due to a catastrophic flood that left the course and the community at large devastated. In the Q&A, Mickelson talks about his commitment to The Greenbrier, his family, and his quest for the final leg of golf’s career Grand Slam.

Michael Williams: So let’s start off with talking about The Greenbrier and this tournament. What’s special about this place, and what’s special about this tournament?

Phil Mickelson: The tournament itself is being played on one of the classic great golf courses (The Old White Course), so right there it’s got a unique catch. But what makes the Greenbrier so great, whether you’re a PGA Tour pro or whether you’re somebody from the East Coast bringing your family down here for a vacation or for the tournament, is this. The greatest moments in life are those spontaneous moments that you spend with your family, and the Greenbrier provides more spontaneous fun moments for a family than anywhere. There’s so many things to do here, from fly fishing and golf and tennis and all these fun things, that you end up having moments, having memories, that last a lifetime. And they’re formed here because of all the activities you can do together as a family.

And you’ve been a big supporter of this. Do you have a house here? 

We have a lot, and we’re building a home. This is a place where we want to spend time with not just our kids now, who are in high school, but ultimately our grandkids in a short time. This is a place where, again, you want to have those family moments.

Let’s talk a little bit about you and how you’re playing this year. Do you feel like you’re close to winning? If so, how close?

Well, the reason I feel like it’s close is that I’ve played at a very consistent level. I’ve played 14 events. I’ve made all 14 cuts, but I’ve only had a few top-10 finishes, and I’ve had almost all top-30 finishes, which means that I’m right there on the precipice of being in contention and winning, but I’m not quite putting it all together. One area has been lacking each week, whether it’s driving the ball and iron shots have been great but I haven’t putted well, like the last weekend at the Memorial. Or I’m putting great, but I hit a couple of stray tee shots or what have you. I haven’t put it all together in one week. But I’ve actually been enjoying this challenge. I’m playing better than I have in the last three or four years, even though I haven’t won in the last three or four years, and I know that it’s close. I know what it feels like to win. I know what my game needs to be for me to win. I’m playing at that level, but it’s that last little piece of putting it all together for a week, and I’m actually enjoying the challenge of doing that.

Do you feel like a player has to play better than he used to if he wants to win on Tour? Do you absolutely have to be on top of your game to win?

I think so, because the players today have such length and power and the ability to dominate a golf course that they end up making a lot of birdies. So out of all these 30, 40 young kids that hit the ball a mile and make a lot of birdies, somebody’s going to get hot that week, and so that somebody needs to be me to keep up pace. You can’t get by just hanging in there. You have to go attack the golf course and dominate it if you’re going to win.

You were diagnosed in 2010 with psoriatic arthritis. How has that changed your approach to the game and to life?

Yes, I was diagnosed in 2010, and it was a big change. But it forced me to take responsibility for my health and my fitness. I’m down now 25 pounds from my peak. I don’t eat a lot of the fast food and sugar that I used to eat. I drink lots of water instead of soda. All of that helps me to manage the condition. When I started out, I was being treated once a week and now it’s down to once a month. I feel great, and long term I don’t think the condition is going to affect what I accomplish on the course. All in all, being diagnosed was kind of a blessing in disguise.

You have not been ranked, I don’t believe, a single week as No. 1 (in the Official World Golf Rankings) in your career.

That’s right.

But you have balance in your life. This whole decision about — and we in the media have been over it many times with you — not attending the U.S. Open this year for your daughter’s graduation is about that balance. So you don’t have the one thing, but you do have the other thing. Was being No. 1 ever a specific goal for you?

PM: Sure.

What would you have done different to make that happen?

Of course it was a goal, and I had an opportunity there a couple of times, when had I won that particular week or whatnot, where I could’ve done it and I just didn’t. But that’s not the end-all of life. I’ve had a pretty good career.

“Pretty good” is one way to put it.

I just happened to play against the greatest player of all time, and I have fallen short on that front. If you compare my career to Tiger, it’s a failure, but if you compare it to just about anybody else, it’s a success. More than that, though, I love what I do. I love who I do it with, the people I get to share it with, and the time I’ve had playing this great game. So I wouldn’t change anything about it.

So you’re a pretty smart guy and a pretty personable guy, and it seems like these days smart, personable guys, including our friend (Greenbrier Resort owner and West Virginia Governor) Jim Justice seem to run for political office. Any of that in your future?

No, it’s not for me, and the reason is all the things that occur in politics — there’s a lot of dinners, there’s a lot of functions to go to — are things that I don’t enjoy. What I do enjoy is playing golf, and I do enjoy being outside. I enjoy spending time with family. I enjoy spending time with friends. What I don’t enjoy doing is multiple dinners and functions and congregations and meetings and so forth. That’s not what I enjoy. I grew up on a golf course. I grew up outside. That’s what I enjoy and those types of interactions. So at this point in my life, I’m fortunate enough to do things that I do enjoy and not that I don’t.

Now, I have a lot of respect for Mr. Justice, and the reason I have such respect for him is that he’s getting nothing out of this politically. Becoming a governor does nothing for him. He has a great quality of life. He’s a billionaire. He’s run multiple companies. He’s doing it because he genuinely wants to help the lives of West Virginians. He’s doing it because he has the knowledge base from his past business experience to turn a state around and run it properly. Very few politicians have any type of business acumen.

In Singapore, you have to own and operate a business for 10 years before you’re allowed into politics, but that’s not the case here in the U.S. People get into politics without ever doing anything, and so they don’t know how to run a business. A government, whether it’s a state or the United States government, is one of the biggest businesses, and Jim Justice has that type of experience to do that. For him to run for office, to become governor, there is no self-motivation here. He gets nothing out of that, other than, because his heart is so big, he wants to help West Virginians have a better quality of life, have better jobs, have better healthcare, have better opportunities, and I just have the ultimate respect for somebody like that.

They’re gonna take you away from me in about one minute, so let me get two quick questions in. With you not in the field, do you feel comfortable naming a favorite, your favorite to win?

I think Bubba Watson’s gonna be a huge favorite because he lives here, and I think that having that, even though the course is pretty…

I meant the U.S. Open, not the Greenbrier Classic!

Oh, the U.S. Open.


I don’t know who to pick for the U.S. Open because I have not been to Erin Hills. I don’t know who a favorite is. It favors kind of the hot hand, the hot player, I would guess, would be in contention, but I don’t know who I would end up picking.

I played it. I didn’t do well.

No, but you’re not even in the field. You’re like me. You can’t win if you don’t play.

Yeah, I missed the qualifier. Last question. I always ask this question of all-time greats and I get some surprising answers. What would you rather win the Grand Slam of golf, an Oscar, the Nobel Prize, or a $50 million lottery?

Well, the only one that is appealing to me at all is the Grand Slam of Golf, and I’m one win away with the U.S. Open. That’s the only thing that, out of the things that you named, that is something that is appealing to me.

Go out and get her. I know we won’t see you in the U.S. Open this year, but we look forward to seeing you out there for many others.


Your Reaction?
  • 79
  • LEGIT5
  • WOW0
  • LOL4
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP2
  • OB1
  • SHANK18

Williams has a reputation as a savvy broadcaster, and as an incisive interviewer and writer. An avid golfer himself, Williams has covered the game of golf and the golf lifestyle including courses, restaurants, travel and sports marketing for publications all over the world. He is currently working with a wide range of outlets in traditional and electronic media, and has produced and hosted “Sticks and Stones” on the Fox Radio network, a critically acclaimed show that combined coverage of the golf world with interviews of the Washington power elite. His work on Newschannel8’s “Capital Golf Weekly” and “SportsTalk” have established him as one of the area’s most trusted sources for golf reporting. Williams has also made numerous radio appearances on “The John Thompson Show,” and a host of other local productions. He is a sought-after speaker and panel moderator, he has recently launched a new partnership with The O Team to create original golf-themed programming and events. Williams is a member of the United States Golf Association and the Golf Writers Association of America.



  1. Bob Jones

    Jun 9, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Anyone who thinks that a government is really a business has no idea about how governments of necessity must operate. What an idiot.

    • Michael

      Jun 9, 2017 at 3:18 pm

      So Phil is an idiot because you decided so based on that statement about businessmen and holding office? I think you should look in the mirror before the next time you call someone an idiot.

  2. freeze

    Jun 9, 2017 at 7:25 am

    really deep interview learn alot about phil, wow great stuff

  3. ooffa

    Jun 9, 2017 at 6:37 am

    Run for office? How? Is he going to say “sorry I can’t make it to that critical budget meeting I have to go to my kids dance recital”? The kind of flippant attitude he has towards his job won’t fly when the taxpayers are footing the bill!

    • freeze

      Jun 9, 2017 at 11:12 am

      Lets run for office and have my private exposed. From betting to taxes to whats in between.

  4. Duk Koo Kim

    Jun 9, 2017 at 6:33 am

    and a rich white guy at that…….allegedly. tax isha’s could be a problem as well. enough overweight

    gray dudes in Washington at this time.

  5. Frankie

    Jun 8, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    To the last question, Phil should’ve replied “You’re a smart guy, right?”

  6. Brian

    Jun 8, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Phil’s a damned dirty republican, anyway. We don’t need more of them in office.

    • Tom1

      Jun 8, 2017 at 11:06 pm

      he hangs his underware out on the clothes line to dry just like all the rest of us.

  7. TheCityGame

    Jun 8, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    If only the US could be more like Singapore.

    • baddomes

      Jun 8, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      Dumb. Who are you, anyway?

      • George

        Jun 9, 2017 at 12:29 am

        The US needs to base its political structure like that of singapores. Seems like the “business man” in American politics is doing great right now……..

  8. JR

    Jun 8, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Another bozo with the “government should be run like a buisness” crap

    • ROY

      Jun 8, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      Another bozo with no understanding of the concept of “limited resources”

  9. Markallister

    Jun 8, 2017 at 11:19 am

    i do not like the golfer mickelson.

    • BZ

      Jun 8, 2017 at 12:17 pm

      Because he is TEAM TIGER!

    • Tom1

      Jun 8, 2017 at 11:08 pm

      don’t corner then try to tame a rattle snake…lol just go with the fact they are wild and angry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion & Analysis

How valuable is hitting the fairway, really?



Hitting more than 50 percent of fairways has long been considered a good goal for amateur golfers. The winners on the PGA Tour tend to hit 70 percent. I have long maintained, however, that it is not the number of fairways HIT that matters. Instead, it is the relative severity of fairways MISSED.

Think about it. By the one-dimensional Fairways Hit stat, every miss is the same. A perfect lie in the first cut is exactly the same as a drive in a hazard… or even OB. There is nothing in the 650+ PGA Tour stats about this. In all, there are 60 stats in seven categories that relate to driving performance, but none about penalties! Like PGA Tour players don’t make any?

Let’s see exactly how important the old tried-and-true Driving Accuracy (Percentage of Fairways Hit) really is. To test it, I used two data clusters: the 2017 PGA Tour season (14,845 ShotLink rounds) and my database for the average male golfer (15 to 19 handicappers – 4,027 rounds).

For the graph below, I started with the No. 1-ranked player in the Driving Accuracy category: Ryan Armour. He certainly was accurate by this measure, but why did he only rank 100th in 2017 Strokes Gained Off the Tee with a barely positive 0.020?

Next I looked at the actual top-5 PGA Tour money winners (J. Thomas, J Spieth, D. Johnson, H. Matsuyama and J. Rohm), the 2017 PGA Tour average, and all PGA Tour players that missed the cut in 2017. We all know the significant scoring differences between these three categories of players, but it’s difficult to see a meaningful difference in the fairways hit. They’re not even separated by half a fairway. How important could this stat be?

For those that have not tried, our analysis includes Strokes Gained and Relative Handicap comparisons. That enables users to easily differentiate between FIVE MISS categories below based upon severity. The final three categories are what we consider to be Driving Errors:

  1. Good lie/Opportunity: One can easily accomplish their next goal of a GIR or advancement on a par-5.
  2. Poor Lie/Opportunity: One could accomplish the next goal, but it will require a very good shot.
  3. No Shot: Requires an advancement to return to normal play.
  4. Penalty-1: Penalty with a drop.
  5. OB/Lost: Stroke and distance penalty, or shot replayed with a stroke penalty.

As we are fortunate enough to work with several PGA Tour players at Shot by Shot, we have access to ShotLink data and can provide those clients with the same valuable insight.

Let’s see how the frequency and severity of driving errors relates to the above groups of players (removing Mr. Armour, as he simply helped us prove the irrelevance of Driving Accuracy). The graphs below display the number of Driving Errors per round and the Average Cost Per Error. Note the strong and consistent correlation between the number and the cost of errors at each of the four levels of performance.

Finally, the average cost of the errors is heavily driven by the three degrees of severity outlined above (No Shot, Penalty, OB/Lost). The graph below compares the relative number and cost of the three types of errors for the average golfer and PGA Tour players. The major difference is that PGA Tour players do not seem to have a proper share of OB/Lost penalties. I found only TWO in the 14,000+ ShotLink rounds. While I accept that the most severe faux pas are significantly less frequent on the PGA Tour, I also believe there must have been more than two.

Why so few? First and foremost, PGA Tour players REALLY ARE good. Next, the galleries stop a lot of the wayward shots. And finally, I believe that many of the ShotLink volunteer data collectors may not actually know or care about the difference between a Penalty and OB/Lost.

Author’s Note: If you want to know your Strokes Gained Off the Tee (Driving) and exactly how important your fairways and the misses are, log onto for a 1-Round FREE Trial.

Your Reaction?
  • 26
  • LEGIT3
  • WOW4
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB1
  • SHANK5

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

Yo GolfWRX: “Are you betting on Tiger Woods to win the Masters?” (Bonus: A March Madness-inspired shot attempt)



Equipment expert Brian Knudson and Editor Andrew Tursky discuss a variety of topics including Tiger Woods being the favorite at The Masters. Also, a Fujikura Pro 2.0 shaft unboxing, Knudson paints the new TG2 studio, and Tursky tries to go viral during March Madness season.

Enjoy the video below!

Your Reaction?
  • 9
  • LEGIT2
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

Tiger shoots opening-round 68 at Bay Hill, is now the Masters betting favorite



It’s happening. Tiger Woods is playing good golf, and the Masters hype train is full-steam ahead. After opening at 100-1 odds to win the Masters, Tiger is now the favorite to win at Augusta in 2018, according to Jeff Sherman, an oddsmaker for (according to his Twitter bio).

After 9 holes (he started on the back nine) at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill — where Tiger has won eight times — he was sitting at 3-under par. What also happened at that time was Sherman updated Tiger as the favorite to win the Masters. Clearly, bettors and Tiger fans had seen all they needed to see in order to put their money down on him winning another Green Jacket in 2018.

Related: See the clubs in Tiger’s bag

On the course’s third hole, however, with water looming left, Tiger hit a foul ball with a 3-wood off the tee and later realized the shot had gone out-of-bounds. Tiger was hot under the collar after hearing the news, and he threw his 3-wood headcover backwards in disgust as he started walking back to the tee to reload. He salvaged double-bogey, and he then made three more birdies coming home to complete his 4-under par round of 68; one of the birdies was a 71-footer after which all Tiger could do was smile.

Woods currently sits in a tie for fifth place, just two shots behind the leader Henrik Stenson.

Can Tiger win at Bay Hill for the ninth time? Will you bet on Tiger as the favorite to win at the Masters? Will Tiger win the Masters?

The questions above would have seemed ridiculous to ask just a month ago, but they’re now legitimate. Welcome back to the spotlight, Tiger.

Your Reaction?
  • 24
  • LEGIT2
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP2
  • OB2
  • SHANK8

Continue Reading

19th Hole