Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson is the best left-handed golfer the sport has yet seen. For many years, he was also considered "the best player never to win a major." Many media members and fans believed that Mickelson didn't have the nerve to win a major.

Mickelson proved such naysayers wrong, and validated his place as one of the best of his generation, by winning the 2004 Masters in dramatic fashion. With Ernie Els on the practice green, awaiting what appeared a likely playoff, Mickelson sank a 12-foot downhill birdie putt on the final hole for the victory.


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Phil Mickelson is the best left-handed golfer the sport has yet seen. For many years, he was also considered "the best player never to win a major." Many media members and fans believed that Mickelson didn't have the nerve to win a major.

Mickelson proved such naysayers wrong, and validated his place as one of the best of his generation, by winning the 2004 Masters in dramatic fashion. With Ernie Els on the practice green, awaiting what appeared a likely playoff, Mickelson sank a 12-foot downhill birdie putt on the final hole for the victory.

Mickelson grew up in San Diego, California, and began hitting golf balls at 18 months. Although he's right-handed in everything else, he learned to play golf left-handed. According to Mickelson's website, at "age three, he tried to run away from home because his parents didn't think he was old enough to join his father for a weekend golf game at the local public course."

His junior career was a great one: Mickelson won 34 San Diego County junior titles, three NCAA Championships at Arizona State University, a U.S. Amateur title, and, as of this writing, is the last amateur to win a PGA Tour event (1991 Northern Telecom Open).

Mickelson's first wins as a professional came in 1993, when he won twice. During the 1990s, he was one of only four golfers to win more than 12 times on the PGA Tour. He was among the most consistent players in the world during that time.

He went winless in 2003, but bounced back in 2004 with one win early in the year, followed by his Masters victory. Mickelson also finished second in the U.S. Open (the third time in the past six years he'd finished second in that event), third in the British Open and sixth in the PGA Championship. He won The Masters again in 2006, plus the '05 PGA.

Mickelson's swing generates great power, and he's known as one of the best short-game players. Often in his career he has fought a push or slice to the left on his tee shots. Early in 2007, he left longtime swing coach Rick Smith to work with Butch Harmon, primarily to improve his driving.

Shortly after making the move Mickelson won the 2007 Players Championship, his first win in that prestigious tournament.

Mickelson flies his own plane, designs courses, and has served as National Co-Chairman for the American Junior Golf Association.

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