Featured Golf News
Mickelson Named to Golf Hall of Fame
Phil Mickelson has been elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame. When the announcement was made Thursday, the Hall of Fame revealed that the four-time major champion received 72 percent of the votes cast.
Since turning professional in 1992, the 41-year-old Mickelson has racked up 39 victories, including three Masters' titles and a win in the 2005 PGA Championship.
"Being called a hall of fame golfer, it does make me sound a little bit old," Mickelson said in Singapore, where he is competing in the Singapore Open. "But I don't feel old. I feel like I've got a lot of great golf ahead of me."
Mickelson noted that he wants to win at least 11 more tournaments to give him 50 career victories, and emerge victorious in the U.S. Open and British Open titles for a career Grand Slam.
Golfers must receive at least 65 percent of the votes cast by journalists, historians and golf dignitaries to be elected to the Hall of Fame. This year Fred Couples received the second most votes with 38 percent, while Davis Love III and Mark O'Meara each received 29 percent.
Mickelson will be inducted on May 7 at the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum in St. Augustine, Fla.
On Thursday during a teleconference with officials from the European and PGA Tours and the Hall of Fame, Mickelson discussed his honor.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: I'm Michael Gibbons from the European Tour. I'd like to welcome everyone here in Singapore to the Barclays Singapore Open and our friends in the media joining us on the telephone to this World Golf Hall of Fame announcement. Before we get to our esteemed top table here, I'd like to introduce Jack Peter, who's the chief operating officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Jack, are you with us?
JACK PETER: I am. Good morning, and on behalf of the Hall of Fame I'd like to thank everyone for attending this morning, this afternoon, this evening, depending on where you're sitting. Thank you, Michael.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: We'll get to our top table now. To my immediate left we're going to start with Keith Waters, chief operating officer of the European Tour. Keith?
KEITH WATERS: Thank you, Michael. We'll come, everybody, to Singapore, where we've just a couple of hours ago completed the first round of the Barclays Singapore Open. Thank you to the media not only for your support this week covering the tournament, but also extending your stay today and joining us this evening. Barclays have been superb supporters of the European Tour and the PGA Tour over recent years, and we're very grateful for their continued support during the Singapore Open. Please, everybody, enjoy the week, and I'll hand you back to Michael.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Thanks, Keith. On Keith's immediate left, a man that needs no introduction, Barclays Chief Exec Bob Diamond.
BOB DIAMOND: This is just a tremendous week for Barclays with our Barclays Asian forum and more importantly the Barclays Singapore Open, and I just want to welcome all of you and tell you it's great to have you here with us.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: And now to my far left, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has the honor of introducing our man of the moment. Over to you.
TIM FINCHEM: Tim thank you, Michael, and let me also echo our thanks to the media for joining us here and around the globe via teleconference. We also would like to thank the European Tour and Barclays for their hospitality this week. I can say on a personal note my wife and I have enjoyed a few days here in Singapore, learning about the city, and enjoying a fantastic conference in the Asian region that Barclays sponsored here today.The Hall of Fame is designed for the purpose of carrying on the legacy of the great players and preserving those legacies for future generations, and on behalf of the PGA Tour and the board of the World Golf Foundation, which is oversees the Hall of Fame, I'm delighted to announce tonight that on the PGA Tour ballot that Phil Mickelson has been voted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, and he will be inducted as one of the 2012 inductees next May at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida.
I think all of us would agree that Phil has been by all of our estimations destined to be a part of the Hall of Fame since he was an amateur, and his accomplishments on the golf course are four-time all-America selection at Arizona State; he was the 1990 U.S. Amateur champion; 20 years ago he was the last amateur to win a PGA Tour event, the Northern Telecom Open in Tucson, Arizona. As a professional in the United States he has won 39 times. Four of those times were major championships, three times, the 2004, 2006 and 2010 Masters, and the 2005 PGA Championship, as well as the 2007 Players Championship. In addition, he has won three times internationally for a total of 42 total wins as a professional. He's represented the United States on the Ryder Cup team eight times, and next week he will be competing in his ninth Presidents Cup matches.
I think in closing I'd just say that I think the two things that at least in my mind as a fan and in the business of golf I think are special about Phil as he enters the Hall of Fame next year are, first, he is clearly one of the most exciting players to ever play the game, and as such, in bringing the audiences to our sport the way he does, he creates great value for all the stakeholders in the PGA Tour. And secondly, and I think even more importantly, is that outside the ropes, regardless of his incredible competitive performance, the way he's handled himself with great comportment over the years, his support of charitable efforts, his instigation of what is now known as the Birdies for the Brave, which has spread across the PGA Tour, as an effort to support and recognize our men and women in uniform, his role with his wife Amy in the Phil and Amy Mickelson Foundation has created such programs as Start Smart and the Mickelson Exxon-Mobil Teachers Academy, and for all those and many other things that Phil does, including just being out here every week when he's playing and signing enormous numbers of autographs, he contributes so much to the number one asset of this support, and that is the image of the players. And I'm delighted to present to you a 2012 inductee to the Hall of Fame, Phil Mickelson. Phil, congratulations.
PHIL MICKELSON: Everyone, thank you for being here tonight and to those that voted me in. This is a really special and cool honor, and I'm excited to be part of the Hall of Fame. I'm excited to be part of the Hall of Fame that has the names of the greats of the game that I looked up idolizing and many of them that I've had a chance to compete against early in my career, and to be a part of that group is a special feeling. I'm looking forward to the induction in May at the Players Championship, and it just feels really cool to be a part of this great organization, kind of an elite club, if you will. It's really a cool thing. Thank you.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Just before we go to questions, I believe Bob would like to offer Barclays' congratulations to you.
BOB DIAMOND: Congratulations. My day started today with we had a session with the minister mentor Lee Kuan Yew for an hour at the Barclays Asia forum with the 43rd President of the United States, President George Bush, and I didn't think during the day that the coolest thing would be that Phil Mickelson has just been elected to the Golf Hall of Fame. Fantastic. You just make so many people proud. Everyone in Barclays is proud of your attitude, proud of the great ambassador you are for golf but also for competition. When I talk about all of Barclays, I mean not just our people, 150,000 of them, but also (inaudible). Congratulations.
PHIL MICKELSON: Thank you. I've really loved these last 20 years of playing and competing, whether it's with the people that I've been able to be in business with, the players I've been able to compete against, the people of the media that we've been able to share the experience, the ups and downs, highs and lows, talking about it. Sometimes it's fun, sometimes it's not. All those great experiences that have taken place in the last 20 years, it's really been fun, and I'm appreciative of the fact I've been able to play golf for a living, that I've been able to have partnerships with people that I enjoy spending my time with. There's a lot of people that I ultimately will thank, and I'll save that for our induction, but having Steve Loy here, who's been with me starting my four years in college and having him all through my professional career is really something special, and I'm looking forward to having Amy and the kids there in May. It'll be cool. Thank you.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: We'll take some questions from the floor here in Singapore.
Q. It's really fantastic to see someone like you coming from the PGA Tour, especially PGA Tour players who are a bit hesitant to travel across the ocean to play in Europe and particularly Asia. Now that you've been coming to Asia for a few years regularly, how has the Asian experience been and what do you think about Asian golf as such?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, this has been my fifth year when I've been spending time in Asia during the latter months of the year, and I've had great experiences. I've been able to take my family a number of times, and we've been able to experience different cultures, and I've been able to play some great golf courses on a global basis. It's been really special. I'm hoping in your country of India the game of golf continues to pick up and thrive. I know that Jeev Milkha Singh is a tremendous player from India, and there are some others, and I hope that the game of golf continues to grow. It's really neat to see the game become part of the Olympics, and I hope that all countries are represented well. As I've traveled over here and spent more time, I've come to appreciate the quality golf that is over here as well as the number of good young players, and I hope that it continues to grow.
Q. Besides all the achievements and this landmark, as well, becoming a Hall of Famer, if you could give us a bit of perspective, what it means for a professional golfer to be part of this elite company, and also, does it make you feel old?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, the great thing about golf is that we're able to play for a lifetime. We're able to compete for a lifetime. What the PGA Tour has done, and much thanks to Commissioner Finchem by creating such a strong Champions Tour, it allows players to compete well into their 60s. So golf has become kind of a lifelong career, where other sports it's not. Other sports it's more of a finite timeline. So I guess it might be a little unique or a little bit different. I don't want to say that I feel old because I don't feel it. I feel like I've got a lot of great golf ahead of me, and I feel terrific and have been playing well. The scores didn't reflect it today, but it's close, and I just feel like I can take that knowledge from the last 20 years and apply it to my game and hopefully continue to add to the accomplishments that have already gotten me into the Hall.
Q. I'm wondering if you've thought at all about what little artifacts you'll be putting in there. I can't imagine what kind of treasure trove you and your parents must have at home.
PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't thought about that yet just because it happened fairly quickly. I just learned about this recently, and so I haven't gone over the details of it. But I've saved much of the memorabilia throughout my career, clubs that I've won with back in amateur golf, junior golf even, trophies, as well as just special things, maybe the Masters dinner menu that we get, little unique tidbits that I've picked up over the years, money clips from special tournaments. All those things I save because it's fun for me to look back on it and remember the tournaments that I've played in and competed in and against a number of great players. So I don't know what exactly I'll put in there, but I seem to have saved a number of stuff over the years.
Q. I'm wondering, knowing the sports fan that you are, I'm sure you pay attention when Baseball Hall of Fame players are announced and the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, and I'm wondering what does it mean to you as an athlete to be called Hall of Fame golfer Phil Mickelson?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, to be called a Hall of Fame golfer, that actually does sound like I'm a little old. So I think what I really like about being a member of the Hall of Fame is really being a part of that group, part of the players that have made the game great, has grown the game over the years, and the history, being a part of the history of the game, which is so cool. So all those things are what I feel and sense when I am called a Hall of Fame golfer. But it does make me sound a little bit old. I'm 41; I don't feel old. But I hopefully will be able to play quite a bit longer and compete. But to be part of this group of the players that have made this game great is really special.
Q. Who informed you that you had gotten elected, and how was that conveyed to you?
PHIL MICKELSON: Commissioner Finchem gave me a call when the ballots were in and let me know that I had gotten in, which was very nice.
Q. Who do you think is the greatest golfer of all time or maybe are the top five of yours?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, we don't have to -- see, the members of the Hall of Fame, we don't have to differentiate one, two, three. We don't have to label them. We all are just part of the group (laughter), so if I wasn't a member, I could look at that. But part of the deal is that if you become a member, we don't put numbers on it.
Q. I'm curious, you're in the Hall of Fame now, but what's left? What important goals do you still want to accomplish before you retire?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I still want to win a number of golf tournaments. I'd like to get to that magical number of 50 that only a few guys have gotten to as far as total tournaments, but also I think that finally getting a U.S. Open would mean a lot to me as well as a British Open, which would complete the career slam. I came very close last year at Royal St. George's to getting that British. I've had five seconds in the U.S. Open; I've been very close. And I'm going to try to take that knowledge I've gained over the years that have led to those good performances and see if I can get over the hump and win those. I think that would be two special monumental feats for me to accomplish.
Q. There were incidents last week in Shanghai that sort of brought a lot away from the game. They had incidents in Sydney today. How important is it to sort of promote a person like Phil? I've seen him with the crowd; he's excellent with the crowd. He's obliging to the press all the time. How important is it when golf has been in the press for the wrong reasons to promote an individual like Phil?
TIM FINCHEM: Well, I can't comment other than Phil, but I'll just reiterate, with respect to that portion of your question that relates to Phil, I'll just reiterate what I said earlier. I think that the image of the players and the image of the game is the strongest thing we have, our biggest asset as an organization, and this is the organization of the players. Phil has contributed to that in a very, very positive way over two decades. He is exactly what you like to see in a player. If everybody conducted themselves like Phil week in and week out, we'd be stronger yet. Thankfully the vast majority of players, a very, very high percentage of players do just that. But Phil has been sterling in that, and our sponsors and our fans -- our players and our sponsors owe him a lot for that, and the fans certainly appreciate it, and that shows.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Congratulations, Phil. Good luck the rest of the week.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.