Reflections on Tiger and Phil

This year's Masters tournament was outstanding! Many of golf's best players were still in contention on Sunday, including the big two—Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. It's the one event in golf I watch every year—though I typically try to catch each of the majors and go to a tournament or two during the year if I can.

This one was a classic for a lot of reasons.

First, it was our first time to see Tiger back in action since his issues surfaced. He seemed erratic and melancholy through his round. Even when he drained a distant iron-shot for an eagle, he simply smiled and put his hands in the air. There was no fist-pumping. There was no Tiger look. He was a swaggerless Tiger. He made several incredible shots to go with several shots that were bad enough that I could have hit them. He seemed tired and a bit sad throughout. Nevertheless, he finished 5 shots back and tied for fourth. Not bad for a guy who has been through all he has in the past several months.

 

Then, there was Phil Mickelson. He too made some amazing shots. The one in the video clip above was one of the best shots ever made at the Masters. The one they used to call "choker" and the guy they said couldn't win the big one–well, he just picked up his third green jacket, and his fourth major tournament victory. His greatest moment in the tournament, though, came after his victory in the embrace of his wife, Amy, near the clubhouse. Amy is a breast-cancer survivor and spent most of the week in bed due to treatment-related illness. She was there when Phil won, though, and their embrace was simply moving.

The CBS commentators weren't going to touch this irony with a 10-foot pole. But, to those watching, it was unmissable. Phil Mickelson was there celebrating with his family–his sweet daughters and his wife, Amy. He is walking the difficult journey many couples have through cancer. He's by her side, she is by his. Thick and thin, good and bad. You couldn't help but compare him to Tiger, a man who hopes to have his wife and children by his side once again. 

I hope he gets that chance. Until then, thank you, Phil and Amy Mickelson, for giving us beautiful picture of family life. I wonder if Tiger was watching that on TV…and what he thought. I know I, for the first time, genuinely felt bad for Tiger. But, I couldn't have been happier for Phil.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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