This story about Phil Mickelson helping a golfer practice for Q-School is why he's still a legend
Phil Mickelson has had a rough couple of years from a PR standpoint. His LIV Golf defection and comments about the PGA Tour’s “obnoxious greed” ruffled feathers. A slew of tell-all books revealed the depths of his gambling addiction and a tangled web of personal issues. His game fell off. Mickelson went from one of the greatest golfers ever to an also-ran seemingly overnight, but one thing is certain:
Phil Mickelson is still a legend.
Skeptical? Fair, fine. Just read this story from Ryan French, better known as Monday Q School on Twitter. A few weeks ago, French messaged Mickelson asking if he would help his buddy Mark Baldwin prepare for the second stage of Q-School. French didn’t expect a reply, but you never know until you ask, as they say. Three hours later, Mickelson responded.
Mickelson wasn’t just willing to offer advice, however. He spent practically an entire weekend grinding with Baldwin. On Saturday, they played a nine-hole match at one of Mickelson’s local haunts. Then on Sunday, Mickelson invited Baldwin over to his backyard golf facility for a short-game tune up and an additional 18 holes. When it was all over, Baldwin called it “the coolest experience” of his golf life.
Some have, of course, called this a savvy PR ploy by Mickelson to get back in golf’s good graces. Maybe it is, but if that’s the case he went above and beyond the call of duty and made a tangible difference in one hopeful pro’s life. Plus, it’s apparently not the first time Mickelson has done something like this ...
So good on Phil. He’s taken his fair share of flak over the last two years, much of it deserved. He’s had his name dragged through mud, often because of his own doing. But these sorts of stories show there’s a side to the karate-kicking, leather jacket-wearing lefty we don’t normally see; one that’s perhaps even more iconic than the public-facing character we know and sometimes love.