Phil Mickelson was pretty much everyone’s favorite golfer up until he lost some fans when he “defected” from the PGA Tour to be one of the trendsetters of the LIV Tour.
Even then, it’s hard not to like “Lefty,” who is as charismatic as they come, and can pull off some unbelievable golf shots from time to time. He’s also not bad at telling a story, which he showcased in his most recent social media clip where he decided to let fans in on a little secret:
“Hey everyone, welcome to story time with Phil, I’m going to tell you a little story. I’m going to take you back 20 years to the Masters in 2004, my first major win.”
Mickelson explains that he had just started working with a new instructor who taught him a towel drill, where he would set up targets at specific yardages all the way up to 175 yards. He had just won a tournament before the Masters doing the drill, so he had momentum going into Augusta and wanted to continue it:
“The week of the Masters, I wanted to continue doing this, so there was an East range and a West Range. Totally different range than what we have now, and so as you’re looking out at the club, down Magnolia Lane, the left side (West side) was for the driving range and the right side was just this big open field with a chipping green.”
Phil ended up doing the drill over on the “open field” range, hitting really long shots that he probably should have been hitting over on the driving range meant for shots like that. However, he goes on to win the 2004 Masters after doing the drill in the East range, so this becomes a routine for him.
He shows up the following year and goes out to do the same towel drill in the same area, but now there is a sign that says “East Practice Range is for Short Game Only,” which he says was going to keep him from doing his regular towel drill. That’s when he hatched a plan:
“After the Champions Dinner, I let all the champions leave first, and I go down Magnolia Lane and I park the car. And I kind of crawl under the magnolia trees and I take that sign and I wiggle and I wiggle and I lift and I yank it out and I throw it into the back of my SUV, and off I go.
So I show up the next morning, there’s no sign there, I start hitting my shots, I do my towel drill and I do it all week long.”
The idea worked for the time being, but when Phil went back the following year in 2006 and went to his regular spot, the sign had been replaced. So he does the same thing at the Champions dinner that he did the previous year, army crawling underneath the trees, wiggling the sign out, and chucking it into the back of his vehicle. When he went back the next day, the sign had already been replaced, and he figured out that someone must have been watching him:
“It never dawned on me that there are cameras everywhere and there’s some video of me crawling under these magnolias with the guy saying ‘look at this idiot, what’s he doing?’
A lot of you might bet that that’s not a true story. Now, I’m not a betting man so I’m not going to take it, but I wouldn’t do that because it’s a true story.”
Phil then reveals to the camera that he had the sign next to him the entire time just out of frame, which reads “East Practice Tee for Short Game Practice Only.” Oh, and that part where he said he isn’t a betting man isn’t true, since it’s reported that he’s bet over $1 billion in the past 30 years.
You can take a look at the full “story time” that Phil shared on his social media accounts below: