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Thursday
Dec122013

Phil For SI Sportsman Of The Year?

SI's Alan Shipnuck nominates Phil Mickelson for the magazine's annual honor.

He makes this case, which is pretty hard to disagree with:

The Mickelsons were celebrating maybe the greatest triumph of Phil’s Hall of Fame career, his rousing comeback to take the British Open. Mickelson’s back-nine 32 is among the most legendary golf ever played at this august championship, and it showcased his evolution from a one-dimensional slugger to a nimble shotmaker. How many athletes reinvent themselves at 43, after a quarter-century of myth-making success? While battling arthritis, no less? Mickelson is now three-quarters of the way to a career Grand Slam and he’s not done yet.

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Reader Comments (37)

Shipnuck, such a homer.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterUnderTheChin
Why not? He not only had a terrific season, but he continues being a wonderful ambassador for both the PGA Tour and the game in general.

I've got no problem with him being nominated.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPA PLAYA
Sounds good to me.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
If SI let Shipnuck publish this, it's not a good sign for Phil.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered Commenter3foot1
Can't think of any clear-cut candidate since Lebron won it last year. I think Phil is deserving as the anti-Tiger, been a long time since a golfer won it besides Tiger (Nicklaus?). Watson never won it and he did a lot of good things.

Shipwreck has done quite a turnaround since Mickelson once threatened to punch him.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMedia driven
Rafael Nadal won two majors and looked tremendous doing it. Serena Williams also won two majors but she's never going to get the respect she deserves.

Andy Murray's victory at Wimbledon was the emotional win of the year (well, at least the UK crowd would see it that way but I sure was rooting for him, too).
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterClaude
So at 43 he is 3/4 of the way to something that Tiger accomplished long, long ago. I'm happy for Phil, who really impressed with his Open triumph, but the angels singing over Phil's head while many are writing Tiger off is a comical contrast. In reality, Phil is 98% of the way to having half the career that Woods already has but Phil is older and probably on the wane.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
What Phil did with his game to conquer back to back links layouts was amazing because he had to play against type for a lot of it. To do this at 43 is indeed a triumph of skill and discipline especially at Muirfield which separates the best ball strikers through methodical punishment for the slightest miss. This was such a stretch for him to pull off after yet another U.S. Open blow that his caddie cried when it was finished. Yes, it was an extraordinary victory at an unexpected time in his career. It is worthy of SI's award but I doubt he will get it. I do find it interesting that the Open championship seems to be the major veteran greats still have a shot to win. Norman, Watson, Els, Clarke and Phil have illustrated that when you compete on a course that is most true to the game's roots experience and skill combined can be a great combination. The Open really is golf's "skills" challenge.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered Commentermunihack
Re Phil's "random acts of kindness.

His random acts of kindness are usually scheduled and with tv coverage.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Thompson
I love Phil, no question or hiding it. Not the SI Sportsperson of the Year, though.

How about David Ortiz, with his insane batting as well as playing 1B in the World Series? Also up in years, like Phil. His performance, in my opinion, deserves to be placed along side Phil's for consideration. (Full disclosure- home-grown Red Sox fan!)

They also have both made significant contributions away from the camera/field.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPete the Luddite
There are PED suspicions about Ortiz. Enough Beantown guys.

I do think Mickelson has a decent shot altho not sure golfers (besides TW) sell magazines. More golfers than tennis players have won Sportsman award, McEnroe or Connors never won it due to their various antics, neither did Borg or Sampras to my recollection. Federer maybe? If she had won a fourth major I still doubt they'd have given it to Inbee Park.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMedia driven
Mickelson is not the best player in his sport. He wasn't even the best player in 2013.
With that, they should play up the "Sportsman" aspect and recognize that Mickelson, the second-best player of his generation, does more than whack a ball with a stick. In 21 years, there has been no scandal. He's been a remarkable ambassador for the game. He treats the fans great, has done well with the media, and wins and loses with grace.
The performance aspect should be at the center. But if the ancillary things matter at all, he's a legitimate nominee.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGmail
Alan--

''a one-dimensional slugger'' When was that? When he was 4?

-2

Tlavin- so what's your point? No one is knocking TW. Are you getting paid to point out TW's successes at any time, because you should be reimbursed for all the moo you spew. :) Don't take it personally- I just don't see why you found it neccessarryy to tell us all what we all know.

Stsnley-

''His random acts of kindness are usually scheduled and with tv coverage''

The things he does with no coverage are ----NOT COVERED--- so how would you know?

-1.5 Sorry Stan, I like your posts, but this is a crock..

While the honor would be great, to diss Inbee would be a real slam at a remarkable year- If any golfer deserves it, she's the one.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Hw many years in a row now has Shipnuck written this column? I think he had Yani one year, but yeah this isn't the first. And when was the last time Phil did a one on one with any media? Got to hand it to Shipnuck though for the effort.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered Commenterelf
IMO this is a no brainer not just for Phil as a golfer but for many others reasons on and off the course. Class guy in victory and defeat.!!
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJMD
The award often has a lifetime achievement component, and is more often than not about more than on-field achievements in the calendar year.

I've been expecting Phil to win it since Muirfield.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTighthead
@ tlavin,

you miss the point completely. Who cares what Phil has accomplished relative to tiger? The tour is full of guys who will never accomplish even 1/50th of what tiger has or will, however, many of them are better sportsmen and better people than tiger will ever be.

@ Stanley,

Your tired shtick has become so boring. Every time you post it becomes so obvious you know little about golf and even less about the tour.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
@press, most of the guys on tour think Tiger is a pretty good sport,think they'd know better than you. Which sort of gets to the second point, how on earth do you know if most guys on tour are better or worse than Tiger?

Here's a reality, we don't know athletes (or other famous people) not really. And yet we seem to think we do. But how many of us really know our own neighbors, people we live next to. Never-mind someone you've never met.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Time to stir the pot.

1. (Serious). What about Inbee Park and her accomplishments on the LPGA Tour? IT would be nice to shine light on that tour where some significant stuff has gone down.

2. (Snark). What about Miley Cyrus? I hear that twerking is going to be an Olympic demonstration sport in the next Summer Games. What better way to kickstart that? :)
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPete the Luddite
They should give it to Nadal, who came back trom serious injury to dominate a sport that never has had so many multi-Grand Slam winning players at or near the top at the same time (or certainly not since the Borg, Connors McEnroe days).

But instead it will likely go to some baseball, basketball or American Football player, like it does the majority of the time.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSari
I have no problem, agree with Digger's comments. 3foot1 is probably right though.
Muirfield "...showcased his evolution from a one-dimensional slugger to a nimble shotmaker.", according to Shipnuck? Phil's game has at least three dimensions - slugging, wedge play and frustrating inconsistency.
If it must be golf, then how can you not mention Inbee Park?
12.12.2013 | Unregistered Commenternguyenvuminh
God...is there anything more overblown and pious than discussion of who should be Sports Illustrated's "Sportsman of the Year?" They should give it the editor who keeps that magazine afloat. It's a shell of its former self.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLip Out
@ elf,
"most of the guys on tour think Tiger is a pretty good sport"
I had to clean off the screen after spewing coffee all over it. Good one!!! Thanks for the laughs.
All you guys that think away from the course, away from the GC cameras ... away from the press. back in the locker rooms...etc Tiger is a real good guy are kidding yourself. Sorry to burst the bubble, it just ain't so.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
digsouth

Sorry for the "crock" .
Phil is probably a nice guy but he doesn't seem to do anything without the press being available. Even when he gives a ball to a little kid he seems to do it when he knows the cameras are on him. Many pros, including Tiger, do so quietly and are only seen by accident.
One of my recollections of Phil was after he had won a tournament (which one??) showed his wife sending out the kids, one by one, in a programmed fashion, to greet him on the green. I thought it was sad.
I have always found him to be insincere and, apparently, so do many other pros.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Thompson
Lip Out:

Your post was....productive....
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSari
Inbee Park had a much better year than Phil. And then there's Diana Nyad.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered Commenter3foot1
Stanley, do you follow Phil around making notes about when he gives things away to spectators?
Anyway, this is the first picture I remember of a child on the green after a victory. Is it insincere?
http://www.linkslifegolf.com/2010/01/20/a-love-letter-to-jack-nicklaus/
This one, too. With Michael, I think:
http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-tours-news/2010-06/jack-nicklaus-on-family
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Rafel Nadal is worthy, as is Sebastian Vettel in Formula 1 with 13 wins!
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChip Gaskins
Stanley- we just disagree on this.

It seems that you see what you want to see.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
I wrote only to highlight inconsistency if not hypocrisy in the love for Phil vs the venom for Tiger. If pointing out the obvious is a sin, I ain't alone. I'll move on.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
Re; Inbee Park " If any golfer deserves it, she's the one." +2 Yep

"Inbee Park had a much better year than Phil" +2 No doubt

Check her record!
If Phil wins the honor from Sports Illustrated I would have no issue with it. All accolades for Phil in 2013 are well deserved.

However if any professional golfer (male or female) were to win the honor in 2013 I would have to give the honor to one of the following inspirational choices:

1) Jarrod Lyle. 1A) Jeff Klauk.

The fact the game of golf still has both of these individuals to root for after what they have been through health wise trumps many others. Being healthy, alive and having some sense of normalcy in life is worth much more than a major victory. As it should.

Some here that may not be familiar with what these two have been through. Please search their stories out. Geoff has done a great job here staying on top of their stories. Doesn't hurt to be reminded.

It's all about perspective. Something we all here seem to forget at times.
12.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterOWGR Fan
@ Chip Gaskins: That's a good call on Sebastian Vettel. Although if you think golf has been transformed by technology, what does that say about F1? It's hard for me to know anymore if anyone can actually, you know, "compete."

Now, then, what about Magnus Carlsen? A world-beater! Chess would be considered a sport here, too, no? The very equivalent to whipping a thoroughbred down the backstretch at Pimlico?
12.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterClaude
Well hey, if driving a car is a sport, no reason chess can't be. Truth is, they aren't and neither is golf, darts or gymnastics. They are athletic activities (except chess), but not sports.
icon-

-4
12.15.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth

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