Monday, April 12, 2010

Who Is The Real Phil Mickelson?

Back in 2007, I featured the article below after Phil Mickelson won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. After Phil's win yesterday at The Masters, I think it's fitting to re-publish this article.

With all the attention that Tiger's negative lifestyle has garnered over the last six months, I think it's time to celebrate someone like Phil who has always put his wife and family first. If you watched The Masters yesterday, and saw Phil and Amy's hug after the tournament, you know what I'm talking about. It was an awesome sight to see...

--Re-Published from February 12, 2007--

First, I want to congratulate Phil for winning the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Phil blew away the field shooting a final round 66 to win the tournament by five shots. This is Phil's 30th career victory, which puts him in select company as he now has more career wins at age 36 than Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller and Ben Crenshaw had in their entire careers.

I have been a fan of Phil Mickelson's for a very long time. He's one of those golfers that I've pulled for for years and have always assumed he was a a nice guy considering how polite and nice he seems on television. Back in 2004, I was at the Masters on Sunday when he won his first Masters title. My wife and I were positioned to the left of the tee on #10, and after Phil teed off, he walked down the left side of the fairway passing directly by us. We both smiled and gave him a "Go Phil", and he did something that many professional athletes don't do, he smiled, tipped his hat and said, "Thank you and thanks for coming out." That may not sound like much, but try that same scenario with many other professional athletes while they're in the heat of the battle, and you're more likely to get ignored, glared at, or at best, a quick nod.

But, one nice "thank you" does not necessarily mean that the real Phil Mickelson is a nice guy. It means he's polite and respects the fact that the fans are as much a part of a golf tournament as he is.

What does make him a nice guy is a story I just read in this week's Golf World. The title of the article is, "Conrad Dobler's Favorite Golfer." Unless you are a die-hard historian of professional football, you probably have never heard of Dobler... Neither had I until I read this article. Conrad was once called the "dirtiest player in the NFL".

Because NFL players of the distant past did not make that much money, and the NFL's disability plan doesn't amount to much, Conrad lives a nice, but not too extravagant lifestyle considering he's had numerous surgeries on both knees. But, Conrad's entire life changed back on July 4, 2001. He and his wife Joy and their six children were relaxing while waiting for friends to come over for the holiday. His wife Joy was in their hammock and accidentally fell out of the hammock and couldn't feel anything. She's been a quadriplegic ever since. After numerous surgeries, doctor visits, etc., Conrad has had to downsize and sell almost all of his assets to keep the family afloat while paying for Joy's rehabilitation.

Enter Phil Mickelson. Phil's lawyer, Glenn Cohen, called Conrad up one day and told him that Phil had become aware of his situation and wanted to pay for his daughter Holli's college education. Conrad couldn't believe it because he had never met Phil and still hasn't to this day. Conrad asked Cohen why Phil was doing this, and his response was, "Because he can."

Phil does stay in touch with Holli who is now a sophomore at Miami of Ohio. She waits tables and has a heavy load of classes and currently has a 3.8 GPA. The first year, Phil sent $20,000, and he has promised cost of living increases every year promising $22,000 and then $24,000.

This random act of kindness by Phil has changed the lives of more than just Holli. It has made Conrad a better person, and it's given Joy the will to walk again. She's already made great strides and hopes to one day get out of the wheelchair for good. Phil has invited the entire family to the Memorial Tournament in May, and the family can't wait to meet him in person. As Joy says, "If there's anything he's missing in his life, it's a set of wings. He's an angel. And if I can when I see him for the first time, I'm going to go up and give him a big hug."

BECAUSE HE CAN! That is the real Phil Mickelson.

To me, this story embodies what it means to be successful. Being successful means having the ability to help others "because you can." There are so many people who could help others, but they choose not to. I'd like to challenge you to look for areas in your everyday life where you can perform a random act of kindness. You'll be surprised how many situations come up where you can help....

If you'd like to share your random acts of kindness with our readers, drop us a note on the comments page.

Good luck today and make it a great one!


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