The Loop

Phil Mickelson says high schooler Ruffels guilty of "high school stuff"


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January 28, 2016

LA JOLLA, Calif. — There’s something about Phil Mickelson press gatherings at Torrey Pines that brings out the best and worst of the World Golf Hall of Famer.

Take Wednesday’s gathering at the North Course 9th green, which, while not as surreal as the time Mickelson sat in the parking lot waiting to be convinced to talk, took on a similarly surreal tone.

Mickelson was merely asked about Ryan Ruffels, who he recruited so hard to alma mater Arizona State that Mickelson had to become an interim assistant to avoid NCAA program violations. Though Ruffels turned pro, they clearly stayed in touch and set up a Torrey Pines golf game last December 21st. Ruffels later revealed that he won $5,000 off of Mickelson, who gave him 2-1 odds in a friendly wager.

The full exchange with the press:

Q. You've been such an inspiration for younger players. Talk about Ryan Ruffels and your relationship with him.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, that's an interesting one. He's a very nice person. I met him a month ago, and we played for the first time. He, he's young, and he's got some things to learn.

One of them is you don't discuss certain things. You don't discuss specifics of what you play for. And you certainly don't embellish and create a false amount just for your own benefit. So those things right there are -- that's high school stuff, and he's going to have to stop doing that now that he's out on the PGA Tour.

Ruffels, 17, begins his PGA Tour career on a Farmers sponsor’s invite. The Australian has signed with Nike and is represented by the fine agents at Wasserman. But here’s guessing he didn’t know he’d also have to resolve a feud with Phil Mickelson. Welcome to the PGA Tour!