How could anyone dislike Phil Mickelson as a person? He is just another guy. He sees his kids go to their first day of school, supports his wife, and brings home the bacon. Well, he did until he stopped eating meat for a while.
But really, Phil is the family man of the tour. His struggles with his wife and mother's cancer battles have taken a toll on his game. He has admitted to slacking off on his game to focus on his family. Then again, almost anyone would. But this isn't just anyone, this is a professional athlete. These are men who finish everything out no matter what.
Not Phil Mickelson.
It's not just Phil's family man attitude that makes him the favorite of the tour. This week, Phil proved to us again why even I can't dislike him as a person, despite as a golfer I am not a fan of his.
The Masters Champions Dinner is an exclusive event. To be there, you have to win the Masters, or work that night in the restaurant. The rules are simple. All champions are invited, and the defending champ makes the menu.
Normally, it's the chance of the champion to share their culture. Angel Cabrera had a traditional Argentine meal. Vijay Singh had some tom kah soup, a curry dish, and lamb. And of course, in 1998, Tiger was Tiger. For dinner? Cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, french fries, and milkshakes. It is one of the champs favorite meals of all-time.
Needless to say, Tiger's tastes have changed since the weight room became important.
Phil, however, went down a different route from his previous lobster and rib meals. His meal for 2011 is as follows: seafood paella and machango-topped filet mignon for an entree. It also has a salad, asparagus and tortillas for side dishes. For dessert? A cream-topped apple empanada.
That's not Phil's roots, if you're wondering. That meal is in honor of Seve Ballesteros, the cancer stricken two-time Masters Champion, and Mickelson's mentor. Unfortunately, Seve won't be in attendance for the meal, but he will be on everyone's mind.
Phil grew up with seeing Seve win, and because of that, his goal became to win the Masters. Phil got to know Seve when he joined the tour, and the two became great friends.
That's why Mickelson's world was shaken by yet another cancer diagnosis in 2008, Seve's. Phil doesn't want Seve to go unforgotten. He won't, I assure you, and I can also guarantee that no former champion will be ordering from the Augusta menu instead of Phil's. Here's my glass raised to Phil, and Seve.