The Sleeper Story Behind the 2010 Masters

Posted on April 12, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

All eyes were on the Tiger.  It was the first time he’d competed this year. Could he keep it together after being publicly shamed? The question wasn’t “Will it affect his game?” but rather, “How much will it affect his game?”

The reporters who narrated the rounds focused on the crowd – how much applause was there? How much applause wasn’t there? Could Tiger pull it off and make the comeback of the century?

But, the real sleeper story was behind the man who won the coveted green jacket, Phil Mickelson. Yet, the sports announcers focused on Tiger and the current obstacles in his life. Where were the pre-Masters stories, providing analysis and debate on how Phil would play after also missing major tournaments and going through his own personal family crisis? There was mention, but Mickelson’s story wasn’t a scandal, something the press dearly loves because it’s the juice that fuels sports commentating, so it was a passing mention given back seat to how Tiger would fare after he voluntarily created his own turmoil.

Within weeks of each other, Mickelson’s wife, Amy, and his mother, Mary, both were diagnosed with breast cancer. Phil and Amy have three children and have long exemplified that they are a family who are devoted to one another. They are the heroes of the 2010 Masters. Not fighting to break all-time records, they’re fighting for something much more important–Life. And they’re fighting together.

Phil took time off to support his wife and mother. The last year couldn’t have been an easy one for their family. I know, breast cancer claimed my mom’s life. Because it’s a cause dear to my heart, I’ve followed the few stories published about their journey and I’ve cheered them on, off the course and on, and never more so than when I watched the final round of the Masters and watched Phil edge closer to the 18th hole and victory.

It was perhaps one of the greatest human interest stories in golf. Not the win, though that was certainly impressive. No, the real story was watching Phil step off the 18th green and into his wife’s arms.

“I don’t usually shed tears over wins. But that was an emotional moment,” Mickelson said. Yes, it was. The tears were flowing, Phil’s, Amy’s, and mine.

That hug represented more than victory on the course; it was the pure love and raw emotion of two people fighting together to claim a bigger victory in the battle against breast cancer. 

This the story that riveted me to the Masters, and in my opinion, the one that’s worth reporting.

Move over, Tiger.  A real hero, both on and off the course, showed up in Augusta. The right man won the green jacket which went remarkably well with the pink breast cancer ribbon on his cap. Both on and off the course, I hope he and his family keep on winning. The PGA and the sport itself owes Phil Mickelson a huge thank you for bringing back the “gentleman” back into the game of golf.


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