ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Here is the entire text of Phil Mickelson’s World Golf Hall of Fame speech, delivered on Monday as part of the Induction Ceremony at the World Golf Village.
PHIL MICKELSON: I love that man (referring to presenter Steve Loy). He’s been with me through the whole journey, and I’ve been very fortunate to have him in my life.
I want to congratulate Dan and Peter, Sandy, Hollis for their induction this year. It’s really cool and it’s an honor for me to be in the same induction class.
I think that they can attest that you can’t start fulfilling your dreams until you dream big. You need a lot of people along the way to help you out, and we’ve all had people help us along the way. We’ve all had big dreams from the start. And I remember dreaming when I was a kid before I could even walk about playing the game of golf. I would watch my dad hit balls in the backyard dreaming of being able to stand up so I could hit my first shots. And he gave me a cut down club when I finally could walk, and I would hit balls in our backyard over and over for hours on end. I would sleep with those clubs at night, and I would dream about the game of golf.
That’s when golf became my passion and that’s when golf became the basis for my dreams. And I was fortunate that my dad put a chipping green in our backyard where I could practice all those years. But when I got to be eight years old, I wanted to advance up and be able to hit balls on a real range, play a real golf course.
And we didn’t have access at the time, but my parents did drive me down to our local course, Navajo Canyon, and allow me to get a job there picking the range three days a week so I could have playing privileges there.
I remember one night when they were waiting to pick me up when my competitor spirit started to come about, I would have putting matches with the other coworkers, and we would putt for a soda and a candy bar. Unfortunately I was somewhat successful.
But I went to work at Stardust Country Club shortly thereafter and worked there through high school so I could further my practice and my play. There were some members of the PGA of America, Rick Thompson, Gary Griggs, Scott and Barry Mahlberg, Dean Reinmuth who allowed me the opportunity the to work there at these fine courses at a young age and also helped advance my game. They would give me instruction that I needed. They would play with me. They would teach me the etiquette of the game, and it’s these members, these five plus some others along with the other 27,000 members of the PGA of America that have helped grow the game, and I’m appreciative for what they’ve done and what they’ve taught me.
I’m appreciative of my mom when I was starting to get a little bit better and wanted to play some junior golf tournaments so I could hopefully get a college scholarship, she would take on little extra jobs to come up with a little extra money so I could travel and compete nationally. And it was my success in those tournaments that allowed me to go to Arizona State on a scholarship, and that’s where I met Steve Loy. And he’s had one of the biggest impacts on my life. He’s been with me through all the great moments, all the tough moments. He’s been with me as a golf coach, as a friend, as a manager.
We shared one of the most emotional experiences of my career winning that Tucson Open that you saw some of the highlights there for. He was the guy on the bag, and he realized that or felt, I guess, that after playing as well as I could and finishing better than everybody else and the paycheck was still zero that this wasn’t what he wanted, he wanted to do something else, and he became my manager.
As my manager, he helped me find the next hugely influential person in my life, which is Bones. Bones is such a great man. He’s a great caddie. He’s a most loyal friend. In the mid ’90s we were playing a tournament in Las Vegas and there was an earthquake at 2:00 in the morning. The chandelier was swaying from side to side hitting the ceiling. His roommate told me the next day that Bones leaped out of bed, grabbed the clubs and ran outside. He didn’t want anything to fall on them and hurt them.
When Amy got diagnosed three years ago, he and his wife Jen drove overnight to be with us the next day in San Diego. When Amy went through surgery, they were there through it all, and I cannot think of a better person, a better friend to have spent the last 19 years with along this journey than Jim Bones Mackay.
I tried to show him how much I care about him in my own special way. It was the U.S. Open a few years ago, many years ago, and we were in the parking lot. One of the fans walking through the parking lot didn’t see the car, ran into the side and kept on walking. We parked the car. I kind of got this idea, I went to the police officers to help us out. I told them that Bones was involved in a hit and run. And they went and cuffed him on the range and pulled him aside for questioning 15 minutes before our tee time. And it was entertaining for me to watch him try to explain how he needs to go caddie and that they didn’t care, this is felony hit and run. That’s, I guess, my own little sick humor.
But Bones and I were on the putting green at the Phoenix Open early in my career, first six months or so of my career, and there was a Special Olympics event going on. There was this smoking hot girl working it. And I never really had much game off the course, but I managed to muster enough to get a date with this hottie. And from the moment Amy and I went on our first date, we’ve just wanted to be together. We’ve just she’s charismatic, she’s fun, she’s funny, she’s always up for anything, and she’s become my best friend and my wife, and I’m very fortunate and feel very fortunate to share this life’s journey together.
She didn’t know much about golf when we first started out, and so when I was away on a tournament and I ended up missing the cut and I called her and I was a little bit down and I had missed the cut, and she would say I don’t understand what does that mean. I would say I’m getting on a plane I’m coming home this weekend. She would say, well, I like this missing the cut.
A little earlier in our relationship than we probably should have been doing this, I was going to go to Paris, and I thought, wow, I cannot imagine I would love to spend time in Paris with Amy. I couldn’t think of a better person. And so I called Gary and Renee, two of my favorite people. Gary runs my foundation now, level headed, two people I admire the most and explained to them how this was somehow a good idea. And Gary in his great parenting put it on us and said, listen, you’re going to have plenty of time. You’re going to have plenty of time to go to Paris together. Amy, it’s your decision, but you’re not going. And I have found this to be very effective in my own parenting skills.
But I do want to say to him that we still have not been to Paris together. However, in two weeks we’ll be there. Amy turns 40, and we’ll have a chance to do that.
As we got married and started to share our lives’ dreams together and started a family, it’s amazing how golf has become part of our timeline of our family’s development. On the video you saw where Payne Stewart made a putt on the last hole to beat me and he grabbed my face and said, you’re going to be a father, it’s the greatest experience. I’m so happy for you. The next day, we had our first child, Amanda. She’ll be 13 next U.S. Open. That’s how I think about it, next month.
In 2004, I won the Masters tournament, and as many of you probably saw, as I leaped just over the three foot barrier, that was a great memory, but what I remember about that Masters was that blond curly hair, the binky in her mouth, the 2 year old Sophia waving to the camera at CBS panned out from the scorer’s tent. That’s my memory of the ’04 Masters. She’s 10 now, and we’ve had a lot of other great experiences.
2005 PGA at Baltusrol, I ended up on the last hole, coming to the last hole tied, I needed a birdie to win. Hit my second shot on a par 5 up by the green, hit this great chip shot out of the rough and made it for birdie. What I remember is after the tournament, 35 or so New Jersey state troopers lined up like they were guarding something in London, and they were so stiff, and my son ran around high fiving them like Hale Irwin did in the 1990 U.S. Open. Don’t shake your head, Evan. That’s true. He’s nine now.
As any career will go through highs and lows, I had a tough time in 2003. I went to Dave Pelz and Rick Smith in the off season and I said, listen, I haven’t won a major. I’ve been close. I know that I can get this done. I need some help. Let’s get a game plan together how we can accomplish this. They sat down and thought about it for month. We came together, it was time to start working and they gave me a game plan how to get better and achieve my goals. Dave and Rick, I am very appreciative of the time we have spent together. Dave and I continue to work on it. Rick and I have continued to be great friends and business partners in course design, and they’re relationships I cherish.
Five years ago I wanted to work on a couple of weaknesses in my game, and I got a chance to work with the best teacher the game has ever seen in Butch Harmon, and these last five years working with Butch have been awesome. I remember, though, before I met Butch, I went to his office there in Las Vegas, and he decided to take advantage of the opportunity and showed me the wall of major flags that he had, which was quite impressive, from a number of players throughout the years. There were a lot of them, and he said, you know, if you can start to do this, this and this, you might be able to get you some of those.
So when we first started working together five years ago, I had him come over to my house and I had lined up the two Masters and the PGA and I said, hey, Butchy, I’ve got me some of those, now let’s go get some more.
We were able to achieve a PLAYERS Championship, a Masters championship and we’re still working on some other. We’ve got a big one coming up this week as well as next month.
Terry Jastrow has been a main stay in TV and gave me my first introduction into the media in the 1991 Walker Cup in Ireland. I had a chance to spend some time with Jack Whittaker and Jim McKay and the very next day I was able to issue my first public apology for the statements I had made the day prior.
The way I see it is there are a lot of people that we are all in this together, from my management company that handles things behind the scenes, from fellow PGA Tour players, wives and caddies to members of the media, we are all in this together, this great game. We’re all in it to promote this game, to enjoy this game and enjoy the journey and the opportunities that it brings. I want to thank everybody for competing against me, for your friendship, for sharing this journey, for telling the stories the way the media do. For being a part of this whole journey. Again, this has been so much fun, and I love sharing this with everybody.
I want to thank the fans because the fans have made this such a fun ride. There have been a lot of highs and a lot of lows that we’ve shared together. There have been a lot of times where I’ve struggled, and it’s been their energy that’s helped pull me through. I’ve tried to reciprocate by launching drive after drive in their general direction. My mom and dad have given me every opportunity in this world to pursue and live the dream that I’ve always had, and I can’t thank them enough for the sacrifices they’ve made. I can’t thank my sister and brother for being genuinely supportive of my career and not competitive, for caring about my success.
I am so lucky to have Amy, Amanda, Sophia, Evan, Gary, Renee, my family to be a part of this journey because sharing these moments with family members, those that you love, Steve Loy, Bones and everybody I’ve mentioned, it makes this so much more enjoyable and valuable.
I would just like to say that since I was a kid and first picked up my golf club, I’ve been living my dream, and I want to thank you for this great honor tonight.