Phil Mickelson

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Hefty Is A Black Belt?

The legend of Phil Mickelson officially gets too large to believe.

July 12, 2018 - 1:37 pm
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It's been a helluva month for Phil Mickelson. 

Hefty embarrassed himself at the US Open when he put on that stick-handling display on the 13th green at Shinnecock. Then he went high-stepping in the fescue last weekend in front of the 7th tee at the Greenbrier which got him in more trouble. 

Two really bad looks. And even breaking that news that he and the Cat are gonna square off for 10 million didn't take the heat of Hefty. Neither did drowning his sorrows in a bunch of Fro-Yo franchises. 

But, like any great con artist, the big man knows how to control his image. Only THIS TIME, Hefty has gone too far. 

My man Alan Shipnuck wrote an incredible profile on Mickelson that's running at golf.com right now. He spent a day with the big man at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, a pretty posh part of San Diego. As you'd expect, Phil was on his best behavior, and he showed Alan what life was like for the 48-year-old still trying to stack a couple more wins out on tour. 

It doesn't surprise me that Phil cruises town on a supe'd up golf cart that goes 50 and has DirecTV wired in. Or his morning ritual of FIVE SHOTS OF ESPRESSO that he pours into a crazy concoction of almond milk, cinnamon, and coconut oil. Or that the gambling addict -- ERR, I mean super competitive guy -- is always looking for a game with one of the tour pros that live in and around So Cal. 

But let me read one specific graph from Shipnuck’ s story, where the legend of Phil Mickelson officially gets too large to believe: 

"At The Bridges, he greets every waiter and busboy by name. Though neither of us are Millennials, we order the avocado toast. Phil's commitment to healthy eating and exercising—he owns a black belt in Taekwondo—began around the time he hit 40. "If I look back to when I won the PGA Championship at Baltusrol in 2005, I was 15 pounds heavier, I looked awful, and here I am 13 years older and I'm in better shape," he says. "I physically feel better. I eat better. I take care of myself better. Most people regress. I feel like I’ve improved a little bit over time."

Time out, Hefty owns a BLACK BELT? In Taekwondo? GET THE HELL OUTTA HERE. 

I'm not here to call Hefty a liar, or to call out my man Alan for his fact checking. But you're telling me that the dude out there sweating through that button-up long sleever is a martial arts maven? That somewhere, in between 3-team parlays, insider trading, and short game sessions, Hefty is going into the dojo and chopping through bricks or crane-kicking dudes? 

Come the hell on. 

Yes, I know Phil owns a black belt. It's 44 inches long and leather, and he wears it on Sunday. Or it's called a draw string, and he uses it to keep his joggers above his bellybutton. 

But a Taekwondo black belt? According to the International Tae Kwon Do Association, there are legitimate physical requirements to earn that -- things like sparring. And the ability to "competently self-defend yourself against holds, club attacks, knife attacks and multiple unarmed opponents." To earn a black belt you must be able to break a 3-inch board with a kick and with your hand. 

Dude couldn't break 80 on Saturday at the US Open. He shot 79 on Friday at the Masters. He WHIFFED on a shot out of the pine straw at Augusta. Black belts can choke out an armed attacked. They don't swing and miss at a Callaway Chrome Soft. 

Nobody in the history of golf has done a better job of selling an image of themselves than Phil. Hefty has people absolutely snowed. And while I'm glad this dude shed 15 from when he was one step away from bursting buttons off his shirt a few years ago, it's one thing to shove away from the table, it's another thing to claim you can put your foot or your fist through it. 

The only black belt Hefty's got is the one with a couple extra punches in the leather wrapped around his doughy midsection.