Ten Reasons Phil Mickelson Is No. 1

Kathy BissellCorrespondent IAugust 23, 2010

Ten Reasons Phil Mickelson Is No. 1

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    KOHLER, WI - AUGUST 15:  Phil Mickelson looks on from the ninth hole during the final round of the 92nd PGA Championship on the Straits Course at Whistling Straits on August 15, 2010 in Kohler, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Phil Mickelson has had four months to overtake Tiger Woods as the No. 1 golfer in the world. We know the reason he hasn’t done it yet has as much to do with the goofed-up rankings as it does with the arthritic condition Mickelson has.

    Arthritis and goofy numbers aside, there are plenty of reasons that Phil Mickelson is the best player in the game today. Sure, his gutsy play is fantastic to watch, like that shot from the pine straw on the 13th at Augusta National.

    But there are plenty of on- and off-course reasons Phil’s a candidate for best player in golf.

10. He Has a Famous One-Name Caddie, “Bones”

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    KOHLER, WI - AUGUST 12:  Phil Mickelson waits with his caddie Jim Mackay on the fifth hole during the first round of the 92nd PGA Championship on the Straits Course at Whistling Straits on August 12, 2010 in Kohler, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Jim Mackay, aka “Bones,” has been Phil’s caddie since Phil turned pro in 1993. It’s just one of many longtime player caddie combinations. Fred Couples and Joe LaCava. Lee Trevino and Herman Mitchell. Gary Player and “Rabbit” aka Alred Dyer. Jack Nicklaus and Angelo Argea. Jim Furyk and Mike “Fluff” Cowan.

9. He Owns a Burger Franchise, Even Though He May Not Be Able to Eat Any

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    PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 09:  Phil Mickelson watches play while eating a snack during the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 9, 2008 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Gett
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    During The Players Championship, Phil announced that he had purchased a Five Guys hamburger franchise for the San Diego area. From a well-known In-N-Out Burger fanatic, this was a big change.

    Unfortunately, his form of arthritis is aggravated by meat. Oops! Health food from now on.

8. Move Over, Bill Nye; Phil’s Just As Much of a Science Guy

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    UNITED STATES - JULY 30:  Children and parents wait outside the San Diego Murphy Canyon Wal-Mart store as they participate in a $225,000 shopping spree on July 30, 2005. Approximately 1,000 needy San Diego County children participated in the back-to-schoo
    Robert Benson/Getty Images

    Phil and Amy Mickelson have supported math and science teachers and math and science education through their foundation. Quadratic equation that.

    The Mickelson Foundation, in cooperation with Wal-Mart, has served more than 5,000 students from more 90 elementary schools throughout San Diego County, helping them with clothes and school supplies.

7. He Signs Autographs for Fans After Every Round.

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    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 07:  Phil Mickelson of the United States signs autographs for fans during a Pro-Am prior to The Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond on July 7, 2010 in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Phil is the new Arnold Palmer of autographs. Famous sportswriter Dan Jenkins once said he was sure Palmer stood with binoculars to make sure there weren’t any more people waiting for an autograph. Phil is a close second in accommodating fans. Arnold may be the King, but Phil is fast becoming the Crown Prince.

6. Speaking of Crowns, Phil Played in the Second Pink Out at the Crowne

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    FT. WORTH, TX - MAY 30: Brian Davis wears pink to show the PGA TOUR's support for Amy Mickelson and breast cancer research during the third round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club on May 30, 2009 in Ft. Worth, Texas. (Photo by Hunt
    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    The first Pink Out was held at the Colonial in 2009 when Phil was the defending champion. He did not play in the tournament that year because of Amy Mickelson’s and his mother’s breast cancer treatments. This year Phil packed his pink and headed to Fort Worth, but he was unable to make the cut.

5. He Shortened His Driver Shaft so He Could Get More Drives in Play

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    KOHLER, WI - AUGUST 12:  Phil Mickelson hits a tee shot on the fifth hole during the first round of the 92nd PGA Championship on the Straits Course at Whistling Straits on August 12, 2010 in Kohler, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    OK, it didn’t quite work at the PGA, but his brain was in the right place making that move.

4. He Still Has the Most Versatile, Most Amazing Short Game in Golf

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    SHANGHAI, CHINA - NOVEMBER 06:  Phil Mickelson of the USA plays a chip shot on the fourth hole during the second round of the WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club on November 6, 2009 in Shanghai, China.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty I
    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    What can you add to perfection? He's astonishing.

3. He Was the Only Non-Surprise Major Winner of the Year

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    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11:  Phil Mickelson during the final round of the 2010 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2010 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for Golf Week)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Phil had the lowest combined score in this year’s majors of household name players. That stat came from CBS Sportsline’s Steve Elling. Phil is minus-18 in majors in 2010.

    Phil’s response to Elling’s stat was lukewarm. Phil can stare down stats like that because he collected another green jacket in April. Do you think he has matching pants?

2. He (Secretly) Played Hurt at the U.S. Open and Finished Fourth

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    PEBBLE BEACH, CA - JUNE 19:  Phil Mickelson watches his tee shot on the 18th hole during the third round of the 110th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 19, 2010 in Pebble Beach, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    His left index finger was so swollen that he couldn’t wrap it around the club. Without this new health condition, would he have won? Obviously he played hurt at the British, because he had a Mayo Clinic appointment after that. He was on the mend at the PGA but said he hadn’t put in the practice time he needed to be sharp.

1. He Won the Masters in 2010

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    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11:  (L-R) Angel Cabrera of Argentina presents Phil Mickelson with the green jacket during the green jacket presentation after the final round of the 2010 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2010 in Augusta, G
    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    Toss out the World Golf Rankings because they are asleep at the wheel when it comes to telling us who the best players are NOW. Insert a couple more points for Philly Mick. He is to golf what the Dallas Cowboys are to football.