“A hero,” wrote Joseph Campbell, “is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” A description apropos for Phil Mickelson. For how often has the five-time major winner sacrificed his scorecard in the pursuit of the ridiculous, all for the benefit of our enjoyment?
A sentiment on display Thursday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. On the 10th hole at Bay Hill, Mickelson’s tee shot sailed left, up against black netting separating the course from a residential backyard. Sensibility called for an unplayable drop, hitting the third up the fairway and hope to save bogey. But sensibility has never been Phil’s forte.
Instead, the 48-year-old donned a cape and addressed the ball as an opposite-hand righty. Mickelson then took a swing—perhaps more hack than swing—and gazed forward, searching for his pearly white piercing through the skyline.
Mock Mickelson all you want. But as the great Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
Or, as Phil will likely explain after his round, “Look, it wasn’t THAT hard of a shot.”
Mickelson would make double on the hole, falling to one under on his round.