Tiger Woods may still be the number one golfer in the world, but perpetual runner-up Phil Mickelson is a class act, a man who puts kindness and love of friends, family, and the game he’s lucky enough to play for a living ahead of that elusive number one ranking. In One Magical Sunday (But Winning Isn’t Everything), his memoir of the tournament that brought him his first of three green jackets at Augusta National, on one of the biggest stages that the golf world offers, Mickelson candidly and joyfully discusses the lessons his family has taught him, the lessons that have given rise to the career of one of the most beloved figures on the PGA Tour.
It isn’t one of the best-written things in the world, but it is that raw, unglossed feeling that makes it so appealing. Mickelson’s hand in the writing is obvious, and in every word, there is an excitement, a love of the game, and a need to let the fans in on his experiences at that first Masters’ Tournament, to walk them through the things he felt, saw, and thought about during those eighteen holes on Sunday. What makes it really special though are the interspersed stories of experiences not directly related to the final round of the tournament, the stories of his life before the PGA Tour, his interaction with his family, and the stories told about him by the family that obviously means so much to him.
One of the most touching is the description of his last conversation with his grandfather, and his mother’s last conversation with her father. Linking to an earlier story, one in which his grandfather told him “enough little tournaments, I want a Masters flag” – Mickelson had gotten into the habit of giving a ball and the flag from each tournament he won to his grandparents to display in their kitchen – it is a moment that really brings out the man himself, not just the golfer. It is stories like those that help to prove just why Mickelson may just be one of the most likeable athletes on the planet. It is not all sap and emotion, however, because there are also healthy doses of cheeky humor thrown in throughout, courtesy of snippets from Mary and Phil Mickelson, Sr., Phil’s parents, about their son’s hijinks when he was little, and stories from his coaches.
Not to mention the little gems from his wife, Amy, and their three children: Amanda, Sophia, and Evan.
Even if you’re not a die-hard golf fan – I, personally, pick out players that I like and cheer for them if I happen to be flipping through channels and a match is on. I have no golf experience other than many rounds of the miniature variety and working putting contests at high-school-sponsored golf outings – it’s probably worthwhile to give One Magical Sunday a shot – I smiled the whole way through, and it only took about a day to read. It is simple, straightforward, and engaging, as well as a really sweet, uncluttered look into a man who is more than content with his life – even if winning isn’t everything, it’s hard to say that Phil Mickelson doesn’t have it all.