A look at the ‘rip-roaring’ and unauthorized Phil Mickelson biography

If Phil Mickelson were Hamlet in Shakespeare’s tragedy, his soliloquy, “To be or not to be,” might be changed to this question: To LIV (join the Saudi Golf League) or not to LIV.

On May 17 a copy of “Phil – the Rip-Roaring (and unauthorized) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar” by Alan Shipnuck was delivered. I devoured it entirely the same day. Here is my reaction to this unauthorized biography that sparked all the talk regarding Mickelson, Saudi Arabia and its gulf / golf money and the future legacy of one of golf’s elite PGA Hall of Fame members.

First, I have an affinity for reading golf-oriented material since writing about golf has been my passion at the Times for the last 44 years. What absorbed my attention throughout the book’s 19 chapters were the colorful anecdotes from Mickelson’s PGA professional golfers, non-golfing friends and contemporaries.

The cover of Alan Shipnuck's biography on Phil Mickelson, which is being released on May 17.

Too numerous to cite, this story is typical. It involves his basketball friend Charles Barkley and flying, “Phil was always trying to talk me into flying with him,” says Barkley. “No ‘expletive’ way dude. I thought his total confidence about him was funny. He was like, ‘C’ mon, man I’m a good pilot. ‘ No, you’re a great golfer. There’s a difference. I’m a firm believer you only get good at one thing in life. You don’t see any United Airlines pilots on the PGA Tour, do you? I rest my case. But Phil argued that point all day long. “

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