Infotainment Factory: How 'Lefty' legend went next-generation

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Saturday, 6 April 2019

How 'Lefty' legend went next-generation


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Anyone who has followed golf in the last 25 years surely knows the name: Phil Mickelson. The five-time major champion’s golf resume speaks for itself but in the last year, the legend of ‘Lefty’ has grown tenfold and now he’s winning a whole new generation of fans.

It started sometime last year and right now, Phil Mickelson stock has never been higher.

In March 2018, Mickelson ended a winless streak that went back to 2013. Form struggles, coaching changes and surgeries due to sports hernia issues were massive hurdles, but at the WGC-Mexico Championship he shook the monkey of his back.

Things started to slowly look up, and his name was returning to leaderboards on the PGA Tour.

Then something else started to change. It was clear Mickelson was having fun again.

https://twitter.com/MizzenAndMain/status/1025009847119605760

The normally private, extremely wealthy golf star was showing more and more of his personality.

He starred in a shirt manufacturer’s viral television commercial high-kicking and dancing goofily to disco music, while playfully dodging golf balls. The ad was so popular it quickly became a meme and highly-used reaction gif by golf fans online.

Noticing the popularity surge, that same month he joined Twitter. And he took to that like a duck to water, taking no time at all to humblebrag about his presidential playing partners within the week.

https://twitter.com/PhilMickelson/status/1034215493823938561

Mickelson’s social media presence reignited the public’s love for ‘Lefty’, with his self-deprecating humour in almost every post only very thinly veiling his overt self-confidence.

https://twitter.com/PhilMickelson/status/1035209460803751937

He’s the cocky but charming American golf star, and he’s been playing the part perfectly this past year.

Look at just this week, when a podcast came out detailing a classic exchange at Jordan Spieth’s wedding between Mickelson and golf fan and country music star Jake Owen.

Owen humorously tells the story of approaching Mickelson at the wedding after “a few cocktails” to share his criticism of the highly-anticipated $US9 million golf showdown between him and Tiger Woods which had taken place the day before.

The pay-per-view broadcast in November last year had suffered technical issues, and the standard of play on the course failed to reach the heights that constant advertising of the unique, one-off event had promised.

“I walked over to him. I was like, ‘Hey Phil, you owe me f---ing $29.99 for wasting four hours of my life with the s---tiest golf I’ve ever seen. You guys hyped this whole thing up about this big match? You guys couldn’t even make three birdies between the two of you? I want my $29.99 back, and f---, apologise to me for some s---ty golf,” Owen recalled on an episode of Barstool Sports’ Fore Play podcast.

“And he [Mickelson] pulls out a wad and he grabs a hundred-dollar bill and he’s like, ‘Yeah, I won 90,000 of these yesterday’. He goes, ‘Take a hundred and go f--- yourself’.

“Right to my face. I swear.”

Mickelson himself replied “True story”, to a tweet sharing video of Owen’s incredible anecdote.

https://twitter.com/PhilMickelson/status/1112905824093929472?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Owen went on to say that when he was awkwardly paired with Mickelson at the Phoenix Open Pro-Am earlier this year, he was ready to humbly apologise, only to be met by nothing but good humour from ‘Lefty’.

“Jake, I love that you did that,” Mickelson said, according to Owen.

“You weren’t out of place at all. It was really funny. I wish more people would give me s---, because everyone kind of kisses my a---.”

https://twitter.com/RiggsBarstool/status/1113236973928484865

This is the side to Mickelson that golf fans kind of knew existed but had rarely heard or seen.

‘The Match’ against Woods was another major moment for Mickelson’s career and resurgence in popularity among the public. The pair had their name up in lights, in one of golf’s most ambitious events.

Held in Las Vegas, to the winner went bragging rights that were the culmination of nearly two decades of golfing rivalry between two 40-something champions who together won a total of 19 majors and 123 US PGA Tour titles.

The players and their caddies were mic’d up throughout the round, betting odds were shown live, and in between trash-talk the pair also put down numerous big-money side bets out of their own pockets for charity, the biggest of which was $US300,000 for a nearest the pin challenge.

To promote the event, Mickelson made numerous media appearances, almost to the point of overexposure. And throughout, he was clearly the main instigator in trash-talk and hyping the match, boldly in the face of the obvious winning record he, Woods and every other golf fan knew Tiger had over him.

Still, Mickelson won, and took home the million-dollar bank cheque (much to his great delight).

https://twitter.com/PhilMickelson/status/1066162139201708037https://twitter.com/BleacherReport/status/1060701151975227393

The Mickelson resurgence train hasn’t slowed down, either.

The latest trending Mickelson obsession among golf fans is Lefty’s bulging calves. Yes, you read that correctly.

https://twitter.com/PhilMickelson/status/1097546927409750016

In February, when the PGA Tour announced that players would be permitted to wear shorts during practice rounds and pro-am events, effective immediately, Mickelson was one of many who took to social media to share their joy.

Mickelson’s calves quickly became a hot talking point, and since then he’s begun sharing joke instructional videos called "Phil Kwon Do Calves" educating his followers on how he keeps his legs supremely toned.

https://twitter.com/PhilMickelson/status/1109195615471202304https://twitter.com/PhilMickelson/status/1110659978224795648

It’s all tongue-in-cheek of course, and often cringeworthy, but behind it all, at 48, he’s still proving he can keep up with the younger crowd with and without a club in hand.

He became the oldest winner of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in his third start this year, and at the Masters, though he may not be a favourite, on a course he’s worn the Green Jacket twice at before, you’d be remiss to rule him out of contention.

Mickelson’s first major victory was nothing short of iconic.

In 2004 at the Masters, he was three shots back on the 12th hole. He went on to birdie that par 3, then almost eagled the 13th, settling for a tap-in birdie. Mickelson made par on the 14th and 15th holes then nailed a birdie on the par 3 16th at Augusta to hold a share of the lead.

As he walked up the 18th green, the clubhouse leader at eight-under after a spectacular round that included two eagles, was South African, Ernie Els. The ‘Big Easy’ was watching Mickelson nervously, chomping on an apple, hoping a playoff was imminent.

But it just seemed like the stars had aligned for Mickelson.

His approach to the 18th put him about 15-feet from the hole and his first major win, and when Chris DiMarco’s bunker shot finished up an inch behind Mickelson’s marker, it seemed like his fate was already decided.

Mickelson would get an almost perfect read on the putt, with DiMarco furthest from the hole and thus with the honour to go first. Lefty was already smiling.

DiMarco missed his putt, gliding it past the low side, left of the hole. Mickelson had quickly crept over immediately after his shot to try and watch how it rolled. He had the read.

Then it was the scene that every kid dreams of: “This, to win the Masters”.

It was a right-to-left putt, a tricky one for a left-handed player. But Mickelson was locked in.

“Is it his time?” American commentator Jim Nantz uttered as the ball rolled toward the hole.

“YES! At long last!”

The ball hung onto the left lip, rolled around the back of the cup, and dropped into the hole.

Mickelson leapt in the air, his arms outstretched, the crowd behind him in absolute raptures. It still gives every golf fan chills just thinking about it.

Going into that tournament he was 0 from 42 in majors since turning professional.

The next year, he won his second major (PGA Championship) and his second Masters title in 2006. By 2013, he had five total majors to his name.

https://twitter.com/TheMasters/status/1113142098272940033

And so, at Augusta next weekend, as with a handful of other previous Masters champions, there will be an element of sentimental value for Mickelson.

But this time, off the back of a whirlwind 13 months, the cheers on the 72nd hole on day four might be even louder than ever before – even for that first win in 2004.

From the weekend hacker, to the ‘Get-In-The-Hole’ frat bro, to the country club lifetime member, men and women, young and old, Mickelson has shown the ability to appeal to a variety of different golf fans, and now over several generations.

Anyone who has followed golf in the last 25 years surely knows the name: Phil Mickelson. The five-time major champion’s golf resume speaks for itself but in the last year, the legend of ‘Lefty’ has grown tenfold and now he’s winning a whole new generation of fans.

It started sometime last year and right now, Phil Mickelson stock has never been higher.

In March 2018, Mickelson ended a winless streak that went back to 2013. Form struggles, coaching changes and surgeries due to sports hernia issues were massive hurdles, but at the WGC-Mexico Championship he shook the monkey of his back.

Things started to slowly look up, and his name was returning to leaderboards on the PGA Tour.

Then something else started to change. It was clear Mickelson was having fun again.

https://twitter.com/MizzenAndMain/status/1025009847119605760

The normally private, extremely wealthy golf star was showing more and more of his personality.

He starred in a shirt manufacturer’s viral television commercial high-kicking and dancing goofily to disco music, while playfully dodging golf balls. The ad was so popular it quickly became a meme and highly-used reaction gif by golf fans online.

Noticing the popularity surge, that same month he joined Twitter. And he took to that like a duck to water, taking no time at all to humblebrag about his presidential playing partners within the week.

https://twitter.com/PhilMickelson/status/1034215493823938561

Mickelson’s social media presence reignited the public’s love for ‘Lefty’, with his self-deprecating humour in almost every post only very thinly veiling his overt self-confidence.

https://twitter.com/PhilMickelson/status/1035209460803751937

He’s the cocky but charming American golf star, and he’s been playing the part perfectly this past year.

Look at just this week, when a podcast came out detailing a classic exchange at Jordan Spieth’s wedding between Mickelson and golf fan and country music star Jake Owen.

Owen humorously tells the story of approaching Mickelson at the wedding after “a few cocktails” to share his criticism of the highly-anticipated $US9 million golf showdown between him and Tiger Woods which had taken place the day before.

The pay-per-view broadcast in November last year had suffered technical issues, and the standard of play on the course failed to reach the heights that constant advertising of the unique, one-off event had promised.

“I walked over to him. I was like, ‘Hey Phil, you owe me f---ing $29.99 for wasting four hours of my life with the s---tiest golf I’ve ever seen. You guys hyped this whole thing up about this big match? You guys couldn’t even make three birdies between the two of you? I want my $29.99 back, and f---, apologise to me for some s---ty golf,” Owen recalled on an episode of Barstool Sports’ Fore Play podcast.

“And he [Mickelson] pulls out a wad and he grabs a hundred-dollar bill and he’s like, ‘Yeah, I won 90,000 of these yesterday’. He goes, ‘Take a hundred and go f--- yourself’.

“Right to my face. I swear.”

Mickelson himself replied “True story”, to a tweet sharing video of Owen’s incredible anecdote.

https://twitter.com/PhilMickelson/status/1112905824093929472?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Owen went on to say that when he was awkwardly paired with Mickelson at the Phoenix Open Pro-Am earlier this year, he was ready to humbly apologise, only to be met by nothing but good humour from ‘Lefty’.

“Jake, I love that you did that,” Mickelson said, according to Owen.

“You weren’t out of place at all. It was really funny. I wish more people would give me s---, because everyone kind of kisses my a---.”

https://twitter.com/RiggsBarstool/status/1113236973928484865

This is the side to Mickelson that golf fans kind of knew existed but had rarely heard or seen.

‘The Match’ against Woods was another major moment for Mickelson’s career and resurgence in popularity among the public. The pair had their name up in lights, in one of golf’s most ambitious events.

Held in Las Vegas, to the winner went bragging rights that were the culmination of nearly two decades of golfing rivalry between two 40-something champions who together won a total of 19 majors and 123 US PGA Tour titles.

The players and their caddies were mic’d up throughout the round, betting odds were shown live, and in between trash-talk the pair also put down numerous big-money side bets out of their own pockets for charity, the biggest of which was $US300,000 for a nearest the pin challenge.

To promote the event, Mickelson made numerous media appearances, almost to the point of overexposure. And throughout, he was clearly the main instigator in trash-talk and hyping the match, boldly in the face of the obvious winning record he, Woods and every other golf fan knew Tiger had over him.

Still, Mickelson won, and took home the million-dollar bank cheque (much to his great delight).

https://twitter.com/PhilMickelson/status/1066162139201708037https://twitter.com/BleacherReport/status/1060701151975227393

The Mickelson resurgence train hasn’t slowed down, either.

The latest trending Mickelson obsession among golf fans is Lefty’s bulging calves. Yes, you read that correctly.

https://twitter.com/PhilMickelson/status/1097546927409750016

In February, when the PGA Tour announced that players would be permitted to wear shorts during practice rounds and pro-am events, effective immediately, Mickelson was one of many who took to social media to share their joy.

Mickelson’s calves quickly became a hot talking point, and since then he’s begun sharing joke instructional videos called "Phil Kwon Do Calves" educating his followers on how he keeps his legs supremely toned.

https://twitter.com/PhilMickelson/status/1109195615471202304https://twitter.com/PhilMickelson/status/1110659978224795648

It’s all tongue-in-cheek of course, and often cringeworthy, but behind it all, at 48, he’s still proving he can keep up with the younger crowd with and without a club in hand.

He became the oldest winner of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in his third start this year, and at the Masters, though he may not be a favourite, on a course he’s worn the Green Jacket twice at before, you’d be remiss to rule him out of contention.

Mickelson’s first major victory was nothing short of iconic.

In 2004 at the Masters, he was three shots back on the 12th hole. He went on to birdie that par 3, then almost eagled the 13th, settling for a tap-in birdie. Mickelson made par on the 14th and 15th holes then nailed a birdie on the par 3 16th at Augusta to hold a share of the lead.

As he walked up the 18th green, the clubhouse leader at eight-under after a spectacular round that included two eagles, was South African, Ernie Els. The ‘Big Easy’ was watching Mickelson nervously, chomping on an apple, hoping a playoff was imminent.

But it just seemed like the stars had aligned for Mickelson.

His approach to the 18th put him about 15-feet from the hole and his first major win, and when Chris DiMarco’s bunker shot finished up an inch behind Mickelson’s marker, it seemed like his fate was already decided.

Mickelson would get an almost perfect read on the putt, with DiMarco furthest from the hole and thus with the honour to go first. Lefty was already smiling.

DiMarco missed his putt, gliding it past the low side, left of the hole. Mickelson had quickly crept over immediately after his shot to try and watch how it rolled. He had the read.

Then it was the scene that every kid dreams of: “This, to win the Masters”.

It was a right-to-left putt, a tricky one for a left-handed player. But Mickelson was locked in.

“Is it his time?” American commentator Jim Nantz uttered as the ball rolled toward the hole.

“YES! At long last!”

The ball hung onto the left lip, rolled around the back of the cup, and dropped into the hole.

Mickelson leapt in the air, his arms outstretched, the crowd behind him in absolute raptures. It still gives every golf fan chills just thinking about it.

Going into that tournament he was 0 from 42 in majors since turning professional.

The next year, he won his second major (PGA Championship) and his second Masters title in 2006. By 2013, he had five total majors to his name.

https://twitter.com/TheMasters/status/1113142098272940033

And so, at Augusta next weekend, as with a handful of other previous Masters champions, there will be an element of sentimental value for Mickelson.

But this time, off the back of a whirlwind 13 months, the cheers on the 72nd hole on day four might be even louder than ever before – even for that first win in 2004.

From the weekend hacker, to the ‘Get-In-The-Hole’ frat bro, to the country club lifetime member, men and women, young and old, Mickelson has shown the ability to appeal to a variety of different golf fans, and now over several generations.

http://bit.ly/2I3ox5K
//

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