Has Phil Mickelson Underachieved in His PGA Tour Career?

Fred AltvaterContributor IIFebruary 4, 2013

Phil Mickelson has had a wonderful career but he is always second to Tiger Woods
Phil Mickelson has had a wonderful career but he is always second to Tiger WoodsDonald Miralle/Getty Images

With his win this week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Phil Mickelson has won 41 PGA Tour titles including four major championships.

He won his first PGA Tour event the Northern Telecom Open at Tucson while still an amateur, and joined the tour after graduating from Arizona State University in 1992.

Mickelson has won over $68 million in his career and is ranked No. 2 on the all-time PGA Tour career money list just behind Tiger Woods

In addition to his 41 wins, he has 27 runner-ups and 165 top-10 finishes in 391 made cuts. He has won at least one PGA Tour every year for the last 10 years. 

Tiger Woods joined the PGA Tour in 1996 held the No. 1 world ranking for 623 weeks and has won 14 majors. Mickelson has never been ranked No. 1 but has been No. 2 for the most weeks of any player in the history of the sport.

Mickelson has won two World Golf Championship titles, Woods has won 16. Mickelson has never won the FedEx Cup Trophy.

He has been runner-up in the U.S. Open five times. In 1999, he finished second to Payne Stewart at Pinehurst the day before his first child was born.

He finished second again in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2009. In 2006, he chose to hit driver on the 72nd hole at a difficult Winged Foot Country Club when he only needed a par to win or bogey to join a playoff. His best finish in the Open Championship was runner-up in 2011.

Overall, he has 33 top-10 finishes in 76 majors since 1993. In 12 majors from 2004 to 2006, he won two Masters, a PGA Championship and had eight top-10s.

In 2012 he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Is it fair to compare Mickelson’s career to Woods’?

While Woods is respected among golf fans Mickelson is beloved for his go-for-broke style and aw-shucks smile.

He will turn 43 in June and was diagnosed with a form of arthritis three years ago, which has certainly affected his play.

Another bump in the road has been the highly publicized battles with cancer for both his wife, Amy, and his mother.

By any standard, Phil Mickelson has had a marvelous, Hall-of-Fame career, but somehow the putt that executed the severe 360 degree lip-out to prevent him from posting a 59 on Thursday could be a metaphor to his golfing career.

An 11-under-par 60 is a fantastic score, but it just isn’t a 59. If it weren’t for a guy named Tiger, he would be the top-dog in the golf world.