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Open letter to Phil Mickelson: Was $100 million not enough?

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Dear Phil,

When did it happen to you? Almost every professional golfer loses their rose-colored glasses at some point in their career. When did that happen to you? What did it take for you to try and shake the foundation of your tour? Was the $100 million you earned not enough? Should it have been more?

Growing up, I remember junior golfers picking sides: “Are you a Phil fan or a Tiger fan?” This was commonplace conversation during post-round chipping contests. It seemed your only divisiveness was making kids choose between two generational talents.

Playing on the best tour in the world, against the best players in the world, is an inspiration for all juniors. It’s why Justin Thomas wore pants in junior events – not shorts, because PGA Tour professionals don’t wear shorts in competition. It’s why Patrick Reed, like countless others, wore red and black. It’s why young dreams take place on the 18th green, surrounded by countless cameras.

As I got older, my path diverged from the boys I played against in those chipping contests. And my reality was very different than your reality: seats in coach and budget rentals, not private planes and courtesy cars. I AM jealous, but NOT bitter. I feel fortunate for the opportunities that I had. I appreciate the earning opportunity that professional golf offers, even if mine was smaller. I am grateful to have played a game for a living – so many other women do not get that opportunity.

It’s easy to compare the women’s game with the men’s game and feel slighted. It’s easy to compare men’s golf with other sports and feel short-changed. I understand that. But perspective is a powerful antidote to greed.