Sentry Tournament of Champions
January 06, 2019

Golf Channel's Jim Mackay on how Phil Mickelson's superstition changed numbers

PGA Championship X Mickelson

Harry How

Professional caddies have stories, maybe none to the degree that Jim Mackay, aka Bones, has stories from his decades working with Phil Mickelson.

Mackay, who parted ways with Mickelson two years ago and landed as an on-course reporter for NBC/Golf Channel, offered up this gem during the final-round coverage of the Sentry Tournament of Champions:

“I’ve been noticing this week that Rory’s been using a ball with the number five on it,” he said of of Rory McIlroy, playing in the final pairing at Kapalua on Sunday. “These players out here, they love some numbers on their balls and they hate others.

“When I went to work for Phil Mickelson back in the early ‘90s, he told me, “don’t ever give me a golf ball with the number two on it.’ Some years later [1994], he was in a playoff against Fred Couples at the Tournament of Champions and he completed 72 holes and of course all we had left in the locker were twos.

“He went out and somehow won the playoff and of course for the next 10 years, any time a big spot came around he was looking for a two.”