'Phil the Thrill' Mickelson, the people's champion in golf
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Throughout his Hall of Fame career, Phil Mickelson has richly entertained fans with his swashbuckling, sometimes high-risk, approach to golf and his dazzling skills around the green.
Nicknamed "Phil the Thrill" by many, the American left-hander is known for being a gambler, both on and off the course, and has long been one of the biggest drawcards in the game.
Thrust under a non-sporting spotlight - news late on Friday of a federal probe into possible insider trading involving him, billionaire investor Carl Icahn and Las Vegas gambler William Walters - Mickelson was the picture of composed.
He put out a statement through his manager saying he had done nothing wrong and was cooperating with authorities. Then, after Saturday's third round play at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, he politely took questions from reporters, but declined to be drawn out.
Such composure marks his game preparations.
Always exciting to watch, Mickelson has established a reputation for becoming one of the most meticulous practitioners in the game with his build-up to the big events, plotting out his strategy and club selection in careful fashion.
While capable of driving up television ratings almost single-handedly when in contention for one of the sport's bigger events, Mickelson is also admired for being a committed family man and a generous donor to various charities.
He brought his unique skills to the PGA Tour in spectacular style by winning the 1991 Northern Telecom Open as an amateur, a feat which has not been matched since, and has gone on to clinch a further 41 titles, including five major championships. Continued...