Phil Mickelson is 50. Happy Birthday Philip (as literally nobody ever seems to call you).
Many of The Thrill’s contemporaries – Allan Robertson, Old Tom Morris, Young Tom Morris etc. – have been many years playing the great par-5 in the sky, yet Philip Alfred Mickelson – Lefty – pushes on. His golf is undiminished. The affection most people hold him in seems to grow. His social media impact increases and, in fact, today might be a good day for Twitter to add a few more server fans, because a heavy volume of birthday greetings will be flying around online in the next 24 hours. Twitter loves this guy.
He’s always been a bit fat has Phil, never really looking like a guy who could go and go into older age like, say, the svelte Bernhard Langer. Yet Phil’s still giving as good as he gets and better, still playing the game of golf beautifully. How has it happened? Genetics no doubt. Some attention to fitness (more than diet) too. But there’s something else. A sense of fun? A genuine enjoyment of play? A love of competition? All these things. And total confidence helps, a kind of charming arrogance. His self-proclaimed genius, the 200+ intelligence quotient points he claims (probable bollocks, but that’s not the point), must keep him going for sure. That kind of high level of self-belief is no bad thing, especially if it can be tempered with some kindness, some generosity, and it seems like there’s some of that: he’s pretty smiley after all, and he’s one of the world’s great tippers.
This guy gave us The Masters in 2011. He gave us The Open in 2013, that final round at Muirfield. And I’ll always thank him for The Open in 2016, even though it’s not his name on the jug.
Happy Birthday Phil. Like pretty much everyone, I’m really hoping you get the birthday gift American golfers dream of and you win your national competition at Winged Foot this year.