NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“A rollicking good time.” —Golfweek * “Thoroughly engaging.” —The Washington Post
A juicy and freewheeling biography of legendary golf champion Phil Mickelson—who has led a big, controversial life—as reported by longtime Sports Illustrated writer and bestselling author Alan Shipnuck.
Phil Mickelson is one of the most compelling figures in sports. For more than three decades he has been among the best golfers in the world, and his unmatched longevity was exemplified at the 2021 PGA Championship, when Mickelson, on the cusp of turning fifty-one, became the oldest player in history to win a major championship.
In this raw, uncensored, and unauthorized biography, Alan Shipnuck captures a singular life defined by thrilling victories, crushing defeats, and countless controversies. Mickelson is a multifaceted character, and all his warring impulses are on display in these pages: He is a smart-ass who built an empire on being the consummate professional; a loving husband dogged by salacious rumors; a high-stakes gambler who knows the house always wins but can’t tear himself away.
Mickelson’s career and public image have been defined by the contrast with his lifelong rival, Tiger Woods. Where Woods is robotic and reticent, Mickelson is affable and extroverted, an incorrigible showman whom many fans love and some abhor because of the overwhelming size of his personality. In their early years together on Tour, Mickelson lacked Tiger’s laser focus and discipline, leading Tida Woods to call her son’s rival “the fat boy,” among other put-downs. Yet as Tiger’s career has been curtailed by scandal, addiction, and a broken body, Phil sails on, still relevant on the golf course and in the marketplace.
Phil is the perfect marriage of subject and author. Shipnuck has long been known as the most fearless writer on the golf beat, and he delivers numerous revelations, from the true scale of Mickelson’s massive gambling losses; to the inside story of the acrimonious breakup between Phil and his longtime caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay; to the secretive backstory of the Saudi golf league that Mickelson championed to wield as leverage against the PGA Tour. But Phil also celebrates Mickelson’s random acts of kindness and generosity of spirit, to which friends and strangers alike can attest. Shipnuck has covered Mickelson for his entire career and has been on the ground at Mickelson’s most memorable triumphs and crack-ups, allowing him to take readers inside the ropes with a thrilling immediacy and intimacy. The result is the juiciest and liveliest golf book in years—full of heart, humor, and unexpected turns.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Golf can be a pretty buttoned-up sport, but Phil Mickelson spent 25 years changing that with his fiery demeanor and larger-than-life persona. Written by longtime sports reporter Alan Shipnuck, this biography dives deep into one of the most interesting professional golfers of all time, starting with his first foray into rule-breaking when he began swinging left-handed as a child. Shipnuck isn’t afraid to discuss every aspect of the enigmatic superstar—including a proclivity for gambling that may have lost him tens of millions of dollars and his controversial comments about a potential Saudi Arabian golf league. Shipnuck’s decades of experience covering the sport shine through these wild and surprising stories. Whether you’re a golf aficionado or just a casual sports fan, this is a fascinating read.
Didn’t match the hype
I found the book had great insight into Phil. It was very interesting to see alternatives views on Phil. I didn’t see massive controversy and the areas Of Phil’s poor judgement didn’t seem extraordinary. I didn’t realize how bad the gambling was and I hope he has found help.
While I disagree with his decision to play in the Liv golf series, I understand his issues with PGA. I always had issues with professionals not being paid at a tournament if they didn’t make the cut. If they qualified to play, pay them. In addition, if they are contractor, why can the PGA treat them as chattels?
All about the money
I had respect for him. Midway through reading this I heard about his latest exploits and greed with the saudis while driving home from work (the book next to me on the seat) 200 million dollars.? And Phil has no idea what abuses they’ve committed.? Driving 75 miles an hour I opened the window and chucked the book out as hard as I could ( good day)
Informative but not entertaining
Nothing really new of note. A long chronological read that leaves you wondering where you heard this before.