Nov 9th, 2015
Phil Mickelson Drops Out Of World's Top 25
A celebration of 20 years at the top
Words: Daniel Owen
It’s the end of an era. When the Official World Golf Rankings get announced later today, Phil Mickelson will have dropped out of the top 25 for the first time in 20 years.
The world was a different place 20 years ago. To put things into perspective: DVD’s had just been announced and VHS obviously ruled the roost, while Bill Clinton was president.
Golf is almost unrecognisable from 1995. Golf Balls were still made with elastic bands; Tiger Woods hadn’t turned Pro; Sergio Garcia was 15 years old; Nick Faldo was yet to win his final Masters; Greg Norman and Nick Price were swapping world number one titles; Ben Crenshaw won the Masters; Corey Pavin won the US Open; John Daly won the Open; Rory McIlroy was six!; Steve Elkington won the PGA; Lydia Ko hadn’t been conceived; And Phil Mickelson entered the ranks of the top 25 best players in the world for the first time.
A mainstay for 20 years in the top 25, Phil Mickelson – love him or hate him – has been one of the most exciting players to ever play the game. A golfing maverick, he’s always done it his own way: From playing the game southpaw even though he’s right handed, to his aggressive course management and ridiculous flop shot skills. He won his first PGA Tour title as an amateur for crying out loud.
Mickelson went from having the 'best player to have never have won a major monkey' on his back, to throwing it off and bashing it in the head with his lob wedge and becoming a five time major champion – just a US Open short of the grand slam. I should add that he has finished second at teh US Open six times...
This is a man who some weeks can not find the golf course from the tee even with the help of an ordnance survey map, and whose short putting can desert him at any given moment. Yet he has 42 wins on the PGA Tour. When he’s off it’s awful (his search for extra distance in particular causing lots of problems) but when he’s on, he plays swashbuckling golf like no other. If Tiger in his pomp was a machine, clinical in getting the job done, Mickelson was the artist, shaping and finessing the ball into the hole from the unlikeliest of spots.
At 45 it’s unlikely that he will get back to the very top of the game. His recent split with Butch Harmon and appointment of Andy Getson as coach looks like one last throw of the dice. But rather than mourn the demise of a great player, take some time to celebrate the golfing maverick who is capable of doing things like this.