“Family man” is a word thrown around a lot to describe PGA professionals, and rightfully so. There are pictures, videos, and even withdrawals to prove it. The most recent display of this is Phil Mickelson’s potential absence from the 2017 U.S. Open.
It will take a miracle, or a four-hour minimum delay, for Mickelson to travel from Pacific Ridge School in San Diego, California to Erin Hills in Hartford, Wisconsin. The high school graduation of the oldest of his three children will keep him from his 2:20 p.m. tee time Thursday.
“As I look back on life, this is a moment I’ll always cherish and be glad I was present,” Mickelson told the NY Times.
Now, days away from Thursday’s opening round and the weather looking increasingly better Mickelson will quite possibly miss his first U.S. Open since 1993.
“I’m going to keep my game sharp the next couple of days, I’m going to go home and when I have a few hours Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, make sure I practice and keep it sharp but it’s not looking good,” Mickelson said after his final round at the St. Jude Classic.
As sharp as he may be, and as much as he wants to win a U.S. Open championship nothing will stand in the way of Mickelson being with his family — not even the chance at completing a career Grand Slam.
“Phil desperately, desperately wants to win the U.S. Open,” Amy Mickelson told the NY Times in a telephone interview. “I would have totally understood had he needed to play the U.S. Open. We could have done a video or this or that.” But that’s not what a family man does, is it? And this isn’t a trait exclusive to Mickelson.
Jason Day, Danny Willett, Ian Poulter, and Matt Kuchar, are just a few of many names that could be used as an example of the “family man” on Tour. Everyone saw Dash Day play in the bunker after his father’s win at the 2015 Players Championship and Kuchar lovingly pick up his two sons and laugh with them as he celebrated his win three years earlier at the same tournament.
In golf there are few things that go together in the way family and players do. Being a family man is often fairly easy to balance in everyday life, but on tour it is a different story. While golfers must submit to a grueling travel schedule, long days, and being away from home more often than not keeping family close takes a bit extra effort.
But isn’t that what makes Mickelson, and the other father’s on tour, more likeable? In the words of Payne Stewart, “There’s nothing like being a father!”
So, whether you are Mickelson using your private jet to hopefully make a tournament, or the Day’s who travel in a motorhome to be sure they spend enough time together today on Tour, and the week of Father’s Day — we should celebrate these cool dads.