No more than 2 minutes after Peter Kostis had a nice little chat with Mister Wonderful, I mean Tiger, Phil Mickelson locked up his 3rd green jacket. I find it pretty fitting that as Tiger is gracing Kostis with his sheer existence, Phil, dressed in all black, is acting out his role as the Anti-Tiger. He drains his birdie putt on 18, hugs his caddie, and makes a bee line to his sick wife. Amy, surrounded by their kids and Phil’s dad, fights back the tears. As Phil kisses his wife, the cheers got even louder. A nice big EFF YOU to Mr. Woods.
How could you not root for this guy? He’s everything you want in a player. Early in his career, he was ultra aggressive, and sometimes reckless. Whether in the lead or behind, he was always the gunslinger. But after years of just coming up short, his style changed a little bit, and he became the #2 player in the world. 3 Masters and 1 PGA Championship later, Phil is no longer “the other guy”.
I could go on and on about how Phil had a great putt here and a great iron there, but there were 2 shots that made Phil a champion today. The 12th hole, a 155 yd par 3, has never been kind to him. But as I said yesterday, Phil was in “The Zone”. He took out his 9 iron, and put the ball exactly where he wanted it. 12 feet past the hole. It left him a relatively easy downhill, left-to-right putt. The green is located on the other side of Ray’s Creek. So the fans are essentially 200 yards away, back behind the teeing area. So when Phil nailed the putt, he gave a massive fist pump and the crowd reacted as if on a tape delay. Everyone was just waiting to see Phil’s reaction. After an errant tee shot to the right on 13, he found himself behind two trees, spread about 5 feet apart. In classic Phil style, he unleashed an aggressive hard swing. When the club made contact with the ball, there was a collective gasp from the crowd. It sounded like “Oh my god, what is he doing?” But Phil pured it. Right through the uprights. The ball had eyes for the green. It soared over Ray’s creek and landed within 15 feet. Phil emerged from the trees pumping his fists and never looked back. His 2-putt birdie put the stamp on his 3rd career Masters.
Mickelson’s birdie at 18 gave him a 5-under par 67 and a 3 shot win over Lee Westwood. Maybe, just maybe, this will quiet all the Tiger hoopla for a few weeks as some of the real TV and print journalists get their heads on straight and report about the tournament. Not the side-show.
Tiger’s Sunday staple has always been the blood-red shirt and black slacks. Phil came out in all black. Black shirt, black slacks and black shoes. I hope Phil keeps this look going. Black is the new red.