Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf's Most Colorful Superstar (Hardcover)

Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf's Most Colorful Superstar By Alan Shipnuck Cover Image
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“A rollicking good time.” —Golfweek * “Thoroughly engaging.” —The Washington Post

A juicy and freewheeling biography of legendary golf champion Phil Mickelson—who has led a big, controversial life—as reported by longtime Sports Illustrated writer and bestselling author Alan Shipnuck.

Phil Mickelson is one of the most compelling figures in sports. For more than three decades he has been among the best golfers in the world, and his unmatched longevity was exemplified at the 2021 PGA Championship, when Mickelson, on the cusp of turning fifty-one, became the oldest player in history to win a major championship.

In this raw, uncensored, and unauthorized biog­raphy, Alan Shipnuck captures a singular life defined by thrilling victories, crushing defeats, and countless controversies. Mickelson is a multifaceted character, and all his warring impulses are on display in these pages: He is a smart-ass who built an empire on being the consummate professional; a loving husband dogged by salacious rumors; a high-stakes gambler who knows the house always wins but can’t tear himself away.

Mickelson’s career and public image have been defined by the contrast with his lifelong rival, Tiger Woods. Where Woods is robotic and reticent, Mickelson is affable and extroverted, an incorrigible showman whom many fans love and some abhor because of the overwhelming size of his personality. In their early years together on Tour, Mickelson lacked Tiger’s laser focus and discipline, leading Tida Woods to call her son’s rival “the fat boy,” among other put-downs. Yet as Tiger’s career has been curtailed by scandal, addiction, and a broken body, Phil sails on, still relevant on the golf course and in the marketplace.

Phil is the perfect marriage of subject and author. Shipnuck has long been known as the most fearless writer on the golf beat, and he delivers numerous revelations, from the true scale of Mickelson’s massive gambling losses; to the inside story of the acrimonious breakup between Phil and his longtime caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay; to the secretive backstory of the Saudi golf league that Mickelson championed to wield as leverage against the PGA Tour. But Phil also celebrates Mickelson’s random acts of kindness and generosity of spirit, to which friends and strangers alike can attest. Shipnuck has covered Mickelson for his entire career and has been on the ground at Mickelson’s most mem­orable triumphs and crack-ups, allowing him to take readers inside the ropes with a thrilling immediacy and intimacy. The result is the juiciest and liveliest golf book in years—full of heart, humor, and unexpected turns.

About the Author

Alan Shipnuck is the author of eight books, including the national bestsellers Bud, Sweat & Tees and The Swinger (with Michael Bamberger). Shipnuck has received twelve first-place awards from the Golf Writers Association of America, breaking the record of Dan Jenkins, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. After more than two decades at Sports Illustrated and GOLF magazine, Shipnuck is now a partner at the golf media company the Fire Pit Collective, where all his writing, podcasts, and video storytelling can be found. Shipnuck lives in Carmel, California.

Praise For…

“Thoroughly engaging.”
—Gene Wang, The Washington Post

“A rollicking good time . . . Who is Phil? Shipnuck presents both the good and bad and leaves it to the reader to decide where they come out in the end. . . . I suspect Phil’s fan base will find reasons anew to adore him even more while his detractors will find fresh ammo to argue that he’s one of the all-time phonies.”
—Adam Schupak, Golfweek

“Alan Shipnuck didn’t know his biography of Phil Mickelson would become the most anticipated and newsworthy release of a golf book since his 2011 collaboration with Michael Bamberger, The Swinger, a work of fiction that was a thinly disguised version of Tiger Woods. . . . The big difference is that Phil is true—difficult as it may be to believe some of the exploits, stories, and anecdotes packed into the book. . . . Shipnuck vividly tells the story of a walking, talking, shot-making contradiction.”
—Gary Smits, Florida Times-Union

“Riveting . . . When people get their hands on a book billed as a ‘rip-roaring’ account, they will be buying a rip-roaring good time celebrating and illuminating the (golf) genius Mickelson has long been. . . . The book captures the often perverse ways Mickelson always needs something to play for. Endlessly. Exhaustingly so. And the stories come almost entirely from named sources. The total package that is Shipnuck’s Phil is also combined with plenty of incredible stories of generosity, making for an entertaining read that gives golf fans a much-needed book to talk about.”
—Geoff Shackelford, The Quadrilateral

“Sports writing is often the best writing, a fact well known to those who read about sports and inconceivable to those who don’t. For a vivid reminder, look no further than this unauthorized biography. . . . Phil is well researched, bracingly written, and full of previously unreported color; Mickelson emerges as a mercurial and charismatic figure whose record-setting golf game is possibly the least interesting thing about him.”
—James Tarmy, Bloomberg Businessweek

“A robust, comprehensive, bald-faced foray into the gigantic life of a man now living in an oversized kettle of hot water. . . . Shipnuck’s nose for the truth takes the reader into some dark and disconcerting places. He provides frequent and fully anecdoted references to Mickelson’s gambling. . . . He also addresses the minefield of rumors loosely connected to Philly Mick’s personal life, unveiling stories that have circulated for more than two decades. That’s another thing about Shipnuck. He has a big pair, especially for a golf writer. And they’re both made of brass. He also has an appropriate sense of what is journalistically fair, and this book doesn’t come close to crossing the line. . . . The salacious stuff gets most of the attention, but the product in its entirety is engaging, addictive and impressive.”
—John Hawkins, Sports Illustrated

“A thoroughly readable portrait of a man who, for good and ill, shatters every stereotype of golfers as personality-deficient cyphers.”
—Bill Ott, Booklist

“For years, in all the better press tents, there’s been a debate: Is there a writer BIG enough to capture Phil? Turns out, there is. Alan on Phil! Shipnuck’s latest win is no ordinary event. It’s a major.”
Michael Bamberger, New York Times bestselling author of Men in Green and The Second Life of Tiger Woods

“I devoured every win, wager, and ounce of Mickelson mischief in this unflinching portrayal of golf’s most complicated character. Hero? Gentleman? Jerk? Shipnuck’s masterful reporting is packed with inside information (the legal sort) that lets the reader decide. Thumbs up, indeed.”
Tom Coyne, New York Times bestselling author of A Course Called America and A Course Called Ireland

“Alan Shipnuck has spent his whole career writing about and thinking about Phil, and that palpable fascination for his subject has fueled a superb biography. Anecdotes fly off the page, made rollicking and weighty by engaged and perceptive sources. Mickelson’s golfing genius, charisma, and foibles are tracked with a high-wire blend of irreverence and dispassion. For all of that, it’s Shipnuck’s unflinching pursuit of Phil’s complexity that will most endure.”
Jaime Diaz, Golf Channel commentator and #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor (with Hank Haney) of The Big Miss
Product Details
ISBN: 9781476797090
ISBN-10: 1476797099
Publisher: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 17th, 2022
Pages: 256
Language: English

How to read more
( Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource shares thousands of images that span decades of Birminghams vibrant past)

How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.


And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.


15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.


50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.


Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.


Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.


Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.



Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.


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