Phil Mickelson won the British Open today, and it made me happy.
I’m a Phil Mickelson fan, and I’m not sure exactly why. I’ve never met him, never watched him do a soul-searching interview, and haven’t read a lot about him. But whenever a major championship rolls around, I find myself rooting for him.
If you watch any golf on TV — and for me, that’s pretty much limited to the major championships — you can’t help but have a favorite player that you root for. The players are out there, all alone, having to keep their nerves under control as they attempt shot after shot. Inevitably, you see players in good times and in bad times, when they are playing poorly and when they are playing well, and when the breaks are going their way and when the golf gods have capriciously decided that it is time for the player to suffer some pain. As a result, you feel like you know them, even if you really don’t.
Why do I like Phil Mickelson? I like his approach. I like the fact that he seems to be a family man and isn’t shy about hugging his wife and kids. I like how he keeps his head up when times get tough. I like how he takes calculated gambles, and is willing to stake everything on the possibility of making a spectacular shot. I like the fact that his face is more expressive than you see on most golfers.
Congratulations on this win, Mr. Mickelson, and thanks. Your triumph brought a smile to my face.