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WHY IS PHIL MICKELSON PICKING TWITTER FIGHTS?
When he could be celebrating the best of life after making history, the golfing legend is buried in social media, trying to turn Twitter mobs against media people such as … me?
This will be brief, because too much is happening in a complicated world to fixate on athlete-media spats. Phil Mickelson, who should be in his most triumphant life mode after making history at Kiawah, instead has assumed a peculiar role as content editor. If he wanted, he has enough money to buy a printing press and website; instead, he vents on Twitter.
He was upset last week in Michigan, where the Detroit News reported a fascinating story about Mickelson’s gambling wager with a mob-connected figure, ‘‘Dandy’’ Don DeSeranno, who stiffed the golf legend out of a $500,000 payoff years ago. Mickelson thought the story was ‘‘very opportunistic and selfish.’’
I thought he was whining. And I wrote: ‘‘Only weeks after teaching life lessons as the oldest player to win a golf major, Lefty went daffy. Yes, with Mickelson in town for a tournament, the Detroit News had every right to apprise its audience of a local story involving the gambling man. … Rather than acknowledge a true story and move on, Mickelson blasted the newspaper, badgered News reporter Robert Snell on Twitter and threatened to never return to Detroit. What Mickelson missed, in dismissing it as old news, is that the court transcript didn’t appear until 2018. Here’s some advice for Phil, at age 51: Stop dealing with organized crime figures.’’
This prompted Mickelson, who should be loving life on a beach somewhere, to fire back on his overused phone device. ‘‘When Jay was in Chicago he was the absolute worst,’’ he wrote. ‘‘He would pick a player and each day of the week would roast him. Many too players just stopped coming to the event and now Chicago doesn’t have a regular Tour event.’’
Allow me to edit his tweet: Too many players, Phil, not ‘‘many too.’’
Gee, I had no idea I carried such power as a Chicago golfing overlord. But blaming me for the city’s lack of a regular PGA Tour event — when I haven’t written columns there since 2008 — isn’t why Mickelson responded. He wanted to create a Twitter mob against me, as he did in Detroit last week, and I won’t bother to look if he succeeded. I’m heading to a matinee baseball game in Anaheim, where I’ll watch Shohei Ohtani, a joyful sportsman.
I’ll leave you with a blurb from a column I wrote abut Mickelson in May, after he became the oldest player to win a major championship. The piece was titled, ‘‘An Unlikely Old Soul, Mickelson Teaches Us About Life,’’ and I called it ‘‘a monumental moment for golf, sport and life itself.’’
‘‘He is the new-age guru of sports, one-upping even Tom Brady in the mastery of body and mind,’’ I observed. ‘‘If this was the famous final scene of Phil Mickelson, it was, to quote him, exceptionally awesome. I suspect the curtain hasn’t fallen yet in the theatre.’’
Sad, isn’t it, that the new drama in the theatre involves Twitter fights.
Jay Mariotti, called ‘‘the most impacting Chicago sportswriter of the past quarter-century,’’ writes sports columns for Substack and a Wednesday media column for Barrett Sports Media while appearing on some of the 1,678,498 podcasts in production today. He’s an accomplished columnist, TV panelist and radio talk host. Living in Los Angeles, he gravitated by osmosis to film projects. Compensation for this column is donated to the Chicago Sun-Times Charity Trust.