The Mickelson book offers some of the promised dirt, but plenty of good too

We’ll get to Tiger Woods in a few minutes, but first, let’s look at Lefty.

I received and finished the Phil Mickelson book, which ain’t exactly bragging because it’s just 249 breezy pages. Thanks to Alan Shipnuck and his editors for avoiding the desire to kill more trees.

Phil’s entertaining thoughts of cashing in on the new Saudi-backed tour has built all the headlines and used up all the oxygen in recent weeks, and it’s the driving force behind the bulk of current book sales.

Frankly “Phil” — Shipnuck’s unauthorized biography — would be worth the time even without one page of the Phil/Saudi drama. For the golf nerd, anyway, and probably for the casual golf fan who happens to love Mickelson.

That’s right, even for those who love Mickelson, because as Shipnuck has explained, there’s a bunch of “Fun Phil” and “Extremely Charitable Phil” in these pages. I won’t spoil those details for you here — I’ve handed off the book to someone else, so it’s not handy, and frankly, my reading comprehension hasn’t improved since Charles Allen’s Spruce Creek English class.

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Phil Mickelson's go-for-broke style on the golf course tends to follow him when he leaves the club.

Phil Mickelson’s go-for-broke style on the golf course tends to follow him when he leaves the club.

The first chapter alone, a compilation of Phil stories from friends and fellow golfers, was a great way to open the curtain. Some of the stories you’ve heard before, most you haven’t, and all point to a Full-Throttle Phil, the type of guy many of us know in our lives — a guy on “go” all the time, looking for the next adrenaline rush.

Those guys sometimes can’t fully satiate their emotional/competitive needs, and that becomes obvious in the pages describing Mickelson’s gambling ways — you can imagine even Pete Rose reading those pages and thinking, “This guy has a gambling problem!”

There’s also the Know-It-All aspect of folks like Phil Mickelson. Judging from the accounts in Shipnuck’s book, Mickelson has a natural interest in a wide variety of topics, seems obsessed in soaking up all knowledge about each, and can’t wait for the opportunity to enlighten you about all he knows. And then some.

Unfortunately, many of these people can’t help themselves and also obsess over others’ unwillingness to see things their way and adjust — in ways big and small. Among the “big” is the PGA Tour’s operational structure and Phil’s desire to convene a constitutional convention and reinvent the whole shebang.

The cover of Alan Shipnuck's biography on Phil Mickelson.

The cover of Alan Shipnuck’s biography on Phil Mickelson.

Hence Lefty’s Saudi-fueled controversy and his current sabbatical.

Hopefully this wasn’t too long of an effort to simply say, yes, the book is worth your time, and probably worth your money, assuming you don’t know the guy who borrowed mine.

And if we’re talking Phil Mickelson, we might as well spend a moment on the biography’s co-star, Tiger Woods, another food-chain topper whose psyche gets some decent examination from Shipnuck and others.

Not to be cynical (ahem), but I can’t help but wonder if contractual considerations played into Tiger’s decision to enter last month’s Masters and last week’s PGA Championship. And whether it might drive him to enter the U.S. Open in a few weeks.

It’s easy to focus on Tiger’s limp and how he might or might not hold up through a few nine-hole practice outings followed by four full days of golf on a weakened leg.

But just as important — maybe more so — is how such an injury severely limits the amount of practice time it takes to hone a golf game for the highest of highest levels.

Some have wondered, what if Tiger had been given a cart at Southern Hills? John Daly was allowed the luxury, due to an arthritic knee (that’s the official medical reason).

Not sure if Tiger’s injuries from that car wreck would meet any legal standard of need through the ADA, but even if it did, he admirably got out ahead of that with a big “thanks but no thanks” during recovery this past winter.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “Not for a PGA Tour event, no. That’s just not who I am. If I can’t play at that level, I can’t play at that level.”

Yep, admirable, and meanwhile, the upcoming U.S. Open would be a very tall order at this time.

But don’t bet against a Tiger showing (and a decent one at that) in July’s British Open at the Old Course in St. Andrews, where the walking is easy and the layout is quite familiar to Tiger.

The topographical tradeoff: The usual chance for cold temps and an assembly line of 30-mph haymakers coming off the North Sea. Followed 10 minutes later by sunshine and friendly breezes.

It’s an up-and-down possibility that’d fit in with the whiplashing periods of positives and negatives with the 2022 Tiger Woods.

— Reach Ken Willis at

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Phil Mickelson is complicated but never dull, and will Tiger play US Open?

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