This recent bio of Phil Mickelson has gotten huge media attention due to his comments on Saudi Arabia and the breakaway golf tour they are launching.
Shipnuck is a veteran gold reporter and the golf side of Mickelson’s life is as well told as you’d expect. It presents Phil as the fascinating player he’s always been and zooms in on the most memorable tournaments and wins.
It’s the presentation of Phil the man which is most interesting part of the book. It’s packed full of anecdotes which present two contrasting sides of Mickelson – money obsessed yet incredibly generous, trash talker yet supportive of new pros, self-obsessed yet capable of great empathy.
The golfer is definable – a player of immense talent who loves to win, needs to play aggressively and stirs emotion by the way he plays. The man is much less clear-cut probably best summed up by the quote ‘he’s a phony, but a genuine phony’.
It’s a very different style to the great 2018 Tiger bio – much more anecdotal but this works well and enables Shipnuck to interweave his personal interactions while reporting on the Tour. It’s a reporters bio rather than a historian’s, but all the more readable for that
The countless anecdotes and behind the scenes info are both interesting and illuminating. Indeed, the first chapter is a range of people answering the question ‘what’s your best Phil story’ – an inspired editorial choice. Overall ‘Phil’ is a very entertaining and enjoyable read.