Phil Mickelson has become one of the most divisive figures in all of sports. That largely relates to his allegiance to LIV Golf after leaving the PGA Tour. Yet, he still is a fan favorite.
On Thursday, his latest “Story Time with Phil” video on Twitter is another example of why so many people continue to root for Lefty. Sitting on a golf cart, Mickelson began the story by setting the scene — his first major championship win, the 2004 Masters.
Mickelson 2004 Masters
“I started working with Dave Pells, and we would do a towel drill where I would lay towels down at specific yardages all the way up to 175 yards,” Mickelson said. “I’d hit those shots over and over to build a reference point. I ended up winning the Amex — my first tournament since I started doing this. Then I went into Augusta with a lot of momentum.”
Of course, Mickelson wanted to continue doing what worked, so he took that towel drill to Augusta National for the Masters.
“There was an East Range and a West Range — totally different range than we have now,” Mickelson said. “As you’re looking out at the Club down Magnolia lane, the left side, the west side was for the driving range, and the right was this big open field with a chipping green over there. I would lay the towels and hit shots up to 160-175 yards.”
The 45-time PGA Tour winner claimed his first green jacket that year, and he credited that towel drill as part of the reason he finally conquered Augusta National. Fast forward to the next year at The Masters, and this is when the story gets interesting.
Mickelson 2005 Masters
He went to do his towel drill on the east range again, but the club put up a sign that stated, ‘East Practice Range is for short game only.’ Instead of accepting defeat, Mickelson took action into his own hands.
“After the champions’ dinner, I let all the champions leave first,” Lefty noted. “I go down Magnolia Lane, and I park the car. I crawl under the magnolias. I take that sign, and I wiggle and wiggle — I lift and yank it out. I throw it into the back of my SUV — off I go.”
“I show up the next morning, and there is no sign there. I start hitting my shots, and I do my towel drill, and I do it all week long.”
The following year arrives, and Mickelson again attempts to do his routine.
Mickelson 2006 Masters
“I show up, and I’m going to go do my towel drill again — there is a sign there, ‘East Practice Range is for short game only,’” Mickelson said. “So I wait till everybody leaves after the champions’ dinner. I park my car over Magnolia Lane, and I crawl under the magnolias — I wiggle and wiggle and get this sign out. I throw it in the back of my truck, and off I go.”
“I show up the next day, and I’m going to do my towel drill, and there is another sign there. It never dawned on me that there are cameras everywhere. And there is some video of me crawling under the magnolias with the guys saying, ‘Look at this idiot, like what’s he doing?’”
Mickelson stopped the story there, leaving the impression he was done doing army crawls at night to steal signs. Instead, he decided to tease the fans some.
“Now, a lot of you might bet that is not a true story,” Mickelson said. “Now, I’m not a betting man, so I’m not going to take it, but I wouldn’t do that because it’s a true story.”
After he said that, the three-time Masters winner held up the very sign from the story.
His betting man comment sparked some fantastic reactions from the fans.
Mickelson has been in the spotlight recently due to various excerpts from Billy Waters’ book about him. Fans called him out on Twitter and played right into his antics.
Do you believe Mickelson’s story? Let us know your thoughts on that or Lefty himself in the comments below.
Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.