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The day we made Phil Mickelson cry

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There used to be a junior event in Southern California called The MacGregor Cup Matches. It pitted the best players from all the chapters, and almost 30 years ago there was a clash of the titans. A virtual “Celebrity Death Match” of golf.

It was Phil Mickelson and Harry Rudolph (another great junior player from San Diego who had a similar success on the Web.com Tour that I did) against Bob May (for those who don’t remember, he had a great struggle with Tiger at the 2000 PGA) and door No. 4: namely me.

We were teenagers. I was the oldest, but the least accomplished of the four, which was not a disgrace as these were three of the greatest players in the history of junior golf in Southern California. I will just say, Phil was acting like a punk and it started on the very first tee.

“Harry, you don’t even have to play, I can beat these guys by myself,” he said.

That sounds like a playful boast among competitors, but it was obvious to the three of us, it was not — and that “‘tude” continued without relent. By the third or forth hole it was so bad, even Harry was becoming annoyed. We then began discussing a subject that was not golf related.

I won’t reveal the subject matter, but let’s just say it was something that is at the forefront of the minds of teenage boys and this time, Phil was the least accomplished. OK, fine, it was teenage girls and Phil was a bit of a dork at the time and not likely to be suave with the ladies.

Trying to fit into the discussion, Phil made — how do I put this? — a faux pas. Well, the three of us sensed weakness and jumped on him without remorse and it continued through the turn. By this time, Phil was walking down opposite side the fairway by himself and was crying.

The funniest part was that he was still lighting it up on the scorecard, and despite some exceptional play from Mr. May and myself, we lost.

I did not see Phil after that for about six or seven seven years.

The question begs:

“Monte, why are you telling this story about Phil? Are you trying to make yourself look cool that you had the upper hand on one of the all time greats because you had a little more experience with teenage girls.”

No, that is not why. At best it could be said I was just as afraid of girls as he was at the time, but I was just a little funnier and drove a fancier car. I tell this story because I am a huge fan of Phil and have been ever since he has been on Tour and this story is at the heart of why.

A few years ago, athletes of several sports were polled about which athlete in their own sport is the biggest jerk and most hated by his peers. To no one’s surprise, Terrell Owens topped the list. It surprised many that Phil was also on the list — the only golfer who made it. He has a nickname on the PGA Tour among many players and caddies who don’t care for him, FIGJAM, which stands for “(Expletive) I’m Good, Just Ask Me,” and I don’t get the animus.

Now back to my experience. Throughout the 90s, I lived at PGA West in La Quinta, where some famous rounds of the Bob Hope were played. One year I was hitting balls on the range because I was getting a sponsor exemption into the Bob Hope (it was later given to Mac O’Grady before the tournament started, but that is a story for another time) and here comes Phil walking right toward me. He was the new star on Tour and the darling of all the fans.

“Monte, how are you?” he asked.

“Good Phil, thanks,” I said.

“Congratulations on winning the long drive championship, how’s the rest of your game doing? Hoping to see you out here soon,” Phil said.

“Thank you, I am hoping to be out here soon too,” I said. “Um, Phil, forgive me for saying so, but I am surprised you are talking to me, since the last time I saw you, Bobby, Harry and I weren’t very nice to you.”

“Nah, I was being a punk and I deserved it, good luck this week,” he said.

I saw him a few more times after that and he went out of his way to say hello and encourage my progress to join him on the Tour. It is the opinion of this golfer that Phil is a class act and many of his peers don’t like him because he does what he wants and doesn’t care what other people think. The number of fans that love and root for him is second only to Tiger.

He is always there for the media, the autograph seekers and pro-am partners. The same cannot be said for many of the other Tour stars. Even though I was a player myself, I am still a fan of golf. And I put Phil’s first major victory at Augusta as one of favorite golf moment as a fan.

It was a long time coming, and for all he has done and continues to do for golf, he deserves it.

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Monte Scheinblum is a former World Long Drive Champion and Web.com Tour player. For more insights and details on this article, as well as further instruction from Monte go to rebelliongolf.com

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Patrick Wells

    Jun 13, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Awesome article! I hope he wins it. Plus I think he figured out the girl thing….Amy is a babe!!!

  2. Princeton_tn

    May 31, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    This was a great read, for those that know Phil, his Brother and Sister, the entire family is first class. We all have a bad day now and then and you hope your bad day isn’t a day that makes first impressions. Phil is long a fan favorite, for a reason, there are not many that stay out signing autographs for the kids and adults for an hour after a round. He does, never says No, and his encouragement of others on tour is unsurpassed. He like the rest of us, can make people feel small especially when they deserve it. Sometimes with nicknames like FIGJAM you must first consider the source.

    Thanks for sharing Monte, great story, even better read!!!

    All the Best…

    Princeton

  3. Blanco

    May 30, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Can’t stand the JAM.

    Best article ever.

  4. Shawn

    May 30, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Great Story Monte! Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Nora Grove

    May 30, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Phil Mickelson has been playing golf from his childhood. He is a classical player. He has many achievement in this side. I like him so much.

  6. Pingback: My latest GolfWrx story | Monte Scheinblum's Blog

  7. Joe

    May 29, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Wow, This story is an attention grabber, who are you? Phil cried when he was a boy, I bet you still cry yourself to sleep…

    • Jetski

      May 31, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      Joe, is English your first language? Do you actually understand the point of the story? Did you make it all the way to the end? One day the internet is going to destroy itself through the weight of the inane stupidity dumped on it by the likes of you.

  8. Servost

    May 29, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Ive never heard that Phil was unliked on tour.

  9. Steve

    May 29, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Nice story. I had heard all that negative stuff about Phil as well. I tended to believe it until I met him one day. He was hanging out at a pool in San Diego. He must have been there for a couple of hours. He would throw a ball to his kids (perfect spirals right handed) and chatted with strangers who approached him. He seemed like a great guy.

    • MtnGgolfer1

      Jun 6, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      I am sure there are countless stories out there about how good of a guy Phil Mickelson is. He is deservingly so a fan favorite.

      I will go way back over a dozen years ago I can’t even remember the year. It was at the old International PGA event in Castle Pines, CO. The tournament was played at the Castle Pines Golf Club. The adjacent course is the Country Club course. I was still single at the time and every year at tournament time I spent every spare minute I had either watching or playing golf in Castel Pines Village. I had played an afternoon round with family members on the Country Club course and after the round we were having dinner in the club house and I caught word Phil Mickelson was on the putting green. ( I was and I still am a huge Phil fan) I excused myself from the table and went out to the green. Of course grabbing my putter from my bag on the way to the green. Phil was doing his famous putting drill where he putts from around the hole. I did my best not to be a distraction, members for the most part left the tour players alone but, every now and then someone walked up to say hello. I just watched and putted around trying to putt like Phil without much success though. After about an hour Phil walked over to me and asked what I thought of the milk shakes I was like huh what? He chuckled, asked my name and said let me see you roll a few. I putted a few and he gave me a couple quick pointers. Phil then excused himself said it was nice to meet you calling me by name and went on his way.

      My interaction with Phil was only a few minutes but, I still cherish it today. I noticed how he always smiled and never seemed annoyed no matter how many people interrupted his routine. I followed Phil without fail every year of the tournament and not once did I ever see him deny a autograph or sign without a smile. I admire his confidence, but I also admire how humble he is with his fan base. The chocolate Milk Shakes at CP are awesome BTW.

  10. naflack

    May 29, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Great story! Thank you for sharing it.

  11. JMD

    May 29, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Phil has consistently proven for over 20 years to be the CLASS Act ON AND OFF THE COURSE!!I’m tired of the bringing up of the “poll of biggest jerks” story of other sports stars who obviously were jealous of Phil and never were revealed. A story that grew wings at the time an IMO was a bunch of BS, but hey that is the press for you.

  12. Sean

    May 29, 2013 at 8:10 am

    ps: what also impressed me was that Phil was still able to play good golf even though we was upset with teenage shall we say angst?…as a teenager that’s not always easy to do. 🙂

  13. Sean

    May 29, 2013 at 8:05 am

    I enjoyed that story Monte. Thanks!

  14. greg

    May 29, 2013 at 6:25 am

    well, i guess if we ever hear figjam shouted out on tv at the tee box after phil’s tee shot, we know your a wrx’r

  15. Chris

    May 29, 2013 at 1:30 am

    Nice story Monte. You both turned out well!

  16. Long Drive Sheriff

    May 28, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Monte, you won the 1992 National Long Drive Championship. It was not called the World Long Drive Championship until the late 90’s

    • Monte Scheinblum

      May 29, 2013 at 12:24 am

      Good grief. I just had this discussion with Brian Pavlet. It’s the same contest, people know what the Remax World championship is, it’s just easier rather than explain what you are forcing me to explain now.

      Just like saying a web.com event instead of Nike or Ben Hogan event. Most people don’t know what a Hogan Tour event is.

      Did it make you happy to be the sheriff?

      • Long Drive Sheriff

        May 29, 2013 at 2:19 pm

        It’s not the same contest. It was called the National Long Drive Championship because the qualifiers were all held nationally. There was no international participation or qualifying participation from Europe, South Africa, Australia, Japan, etc etc etc at that event. I’ve never heard Big Cat say he is a 2 Time WORLD Long Drive Champion.

        • Snake Ize

          May 30, 2013 at 2:57 am

          It’s OK Monte…..LDS is likely jealous of your “World” Long Drive titles because he can’t get it past the ladies tees! It’s also likely that it was LDS who called CBS to rat out Tiger on his illegal drop at The Masters! Go figure!

  17. memphisunited

    May 28, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Monte – Great story and insight on Phil. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Reid

    May 28, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Super write up!

  19. G

    May 28, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    So, Monte, are you apologizing, is that it? Why not just say that you’re very sorry for not knowing how to not be a jerk. :-p

    • Monte Scheinblum

      May 28, 2013 at 2:44 pm

      Show me a teenage boy who knows how to not be a jerk…lol

    • R?K.Laury

      May 29, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      I have always found Phil Michelson to be great with the fans and always stays around to sign autographs. He sm a good father and husband and is not afraid to poke a little fun at himself. In my mind, he has proven himself as a great champion, especially in light of arthritis, a wife who suffered cancer and a difficult childbirth, never using any of those things as excuses. Dial in his last Masters win and look at the love between him and his wife after the victory. Truly a classy human being if I ever saw one.

  20. Mat

    May 28, 2013 at 11:59 am

    FIGJAM!

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I’ll start by saying this: Bob Parsons has a stigma attached to him. With every move he makes or idea he pushes, many people think: Rich guy. No perspective. Who does he think he is?

I also need to say this (whether you believe it or not): This is not a puff piece. This is my honest perspective as I have experienced. Until 30 days ago, I didn’t have one PXG club in my bag and have never been given favor from PXG to “make them look good.”

OK, that’s out of the way, so you know what isn’t the motivation here. The motivation is to describe my relationship with Bob, so the golf community knows exactly who he is, why he is so important, and why we don’t want him to ever go away.

I first met Bob Parsons on December 11th, 2007 on the set of the first commercial I ever booked as an actor. It was for GoDaddy.com, and it was a Super Bowl ad that was later banned and became a “cult classic” for years to come. On the set of that commercial, Bob showed up before principal photography began and walked up to every person on that set (100 people) and personally introduced himself and thanked them for the hard work. When I met and I told him my name, he said in a way only Bob can, “Johnny Wunder!? I’ll never forget that name, that’s a no brainer.”

Fast forward to March of 2018 and PXG’s initial launch of the GEN2 irons. Before our interview was set up, I was reintroduced to him, and he said “Johnny Wunder!? THE Johnny Wunder? I know that name. We have met. I never forget a name.” I explained how we met and he started to laugh, “I may forget a face, Johnny, but I’d never forget a name like that.”

Since then, I have interviewed Bob four times and been his guest during product launches. NOBODY does hospitality like Bob. NOBODY. You are inside the bubble, and you are well taken care of but also respected to the utmost degree. He understands the job we in the media have and will give you everything he can to make the experience worthwhile. Yes, Bob has a larger-than-life on-camera persona. It’s big, funny, gregarious, and to some, intimidating. Bob off camera is a bit of a different thing. He’s a thoughtful, quiet man that will ask about your kids far before he asks what you think about his products.

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This is not Bob selling me. This is Bob.

The message here is that Bob cares, immensely, about improving the conditions of those he can. Yes his clubs are expensive. Get past that. Yes he has a ton of cash. Get past that. Yes his persona is BIG. Get past that. He spun the industry on its head by introducing and selling clubs that were “too expensive.” “He will never make it” was something I hear a lot. Well that idea is now put to bed as PXG, leading with its strong chin, made it OK to spend a lot of money on golf clubs. He paved the way for bespoke companies like Artisan, Tyson Lamb, National Custom Works to charge premium prices for custom gear. I think any gearhead on GolfWRX could find a way to be thankful for that one…just for the Instagram pictures alone.

The interview accompanying this article will give you just a glimpse as to who Bob really is. He came from nothing. He built this. He dug it outta the dirt. He is the American Dream walking and talking. No one gave him anything. In this day and age, I honor that narrative. I respect the hell out of it, and I want my kids to see men and woman like this.

It’s the real “meat on the table” that Bob has. You can’t learn this in school, you have to learn it by trying and failing A LOT. PXG is something he built. He didn’t hire smart people to do his bidding, he hired smart people to learn from and get in the mud with. PXG clubs are the product of that collaboration. PXG clubs are not Bob, but they are a symbol of how much this guy cares about doing things differently. He’s a disruptor. He cares. That’s all that matters.

I hope you see what I see. Enjoy the interview.

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