Amateur Mickelson accomplished goal of winning '91 Tour event


Phil Mickelson is a big believer in goal-setting - even the ones about which he forgets.

Wednesday marked the 25th anniversary of Mickelson's victory as an amateur at the PGA Tour's Northern Telecom Open. Speaking on "Morning Drive," Lefty recounted a story about how the Mickelson family had gotten together the previous Christmas to script three goals that each of them had for the upcoming year.

"We wrote them down, put them in a vase and then we were going to open them a year later. I had forgotten that I had written this down, but one of the three goals that I had written for 1991 was to win the Tucson Open," Mickelson said. "It's amazing how goal-setting and the power of the subconscious mind can kind of get in your head and get you to get the best out of you. Somehow I had dreamt a month prior, or weeks prior, that I would end up winning it."

Mickelson won the tournament with a birdie on the 72nd hole, but it wasn't without drama. After starting the final round with a two-shot lead, he appeared to be out of contention following a triple bogey on No. 14 before rebounding with two more birdies coming home.

"It was not the first time I've made triple. It's part of my game, I guess," he said. "I did think at the time that I had thrown the tournament away, because I was two or three shots behind. I was fortunate that a couple guys ahead of me made a bogey coming in, which allowed me the opportunity to make those birdies to win."

Mickelson was a junior at Arizona State when he won, and despite the two-year Tour exemption that accompanied the trophy, he decided to return to ASU to complete his junior and senior seasons.

While Mickelson said that he "really didn't feel any pressure to turn pro" because of the long career most players have, he added that the trend to turn pro early is a big reason why no amateur has won on Tour since his triumph in Tucson.

"I mean, there's many young players that win in that first year or two as they turn pro, when they would still be in college, so there is obviously the talent in the amateur ranks to win on the PGA Tour," he said. "I just think they don't give themselves enough time to do it. It's not necessarily a bad thing or a good thing, it just is kind of the way things have evolved."