Why Phil is the sentimental favorite this week at Barclays


PARAMUS, N.J. – On Tuesday I had the honor of spending a few priceless hours on the world famous Intrepid, docked on the Hudson River in New York, just a couple of miles from Times Square. She's a mighty aircraft carrier that transported our brave servicemen and women through World War II, Vietnam and the Cold War, but on this day, she was transformed into a patriotic stage for military appreciation week at The Barclays.

In a grand philanthropic gesture, Barclays president Bob Diamond, with Phil Mickelson and wounded U.S. Marine Jeff Combs, hit golf balls into a floating target on the Hudson in an effort to raise money for Birdies for the Brave. Jeff, with only his right arm, made a smooth first swing and nearly hit the target. Lefty was so impressed with Jeff's right-handed move that he tried to duplicate it but to no avail. It was a cold shank into the spectator bleachers by the second-ranked player in the world – firm proof that one of golf's most talented players couldn't easily do what Jeff had just done.

Mickelson's ties to the military run deep. His father Phil Sr. spent countless hours on aircraft carriers as a Navy fighter pilot back in the 1960s. Phil Jr. was so inspired by his father's service, that he eventually secured his own pilot's license. A few years ago, Phil and his wife Amy started Birdies for the Brave and have since dedicated their own time, money and energy to trying to grow the cause.

There is no doubt that the New York area's love for Phil grew a little deeper after that special day on the Intrepid. He is the sentimental favorite at The Barclays this week.