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Phil

The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorised!) Biography of Golf's Most Colourful Superstar

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About The Book

'Terrific fun' David Walsh, Sunday Times   * *   'Thoroughly engaging' Washington Post
A frank and revealing 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 and unauthorised biog­raphy, Shipnuck captures a singular life defined by thrilling victories, crushing defeats and countless controversies. Mickelson is a multi-faceted 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 rumours; 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. In their early years together on Tour, Mickelson lacked Tiger’s laser focus and discipline, 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 delivers numerous revelations, from the true scale of Mickelson’s massive gambling losses to the secretive backstory of the Saudi golf league that Mickelson championed. 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, 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, humour and unexpected turns.

About The Author

Abigail Shipnuck

Alan Shipnuck wrote his first cover story for Sports Illustrated in 1994 as a twenty-one-year-old intern, and in the ensuing quarter-century he typed two dozen more. He 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 in the annual writing contest conducted by the Golf Writers Association of America, breaking the record of Dan Jenkins, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. He is a partner at the golf media company the Fire Pit Collective, where all of his writing, podcasts, and video storytelling can now be found. Shipnuck lives in Carmel, California.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (May 24, 2022)
  • Length: 256 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781398521766

Raves and Reviews

'Phil...is terrific fun, 19 chapters that read like Mickelson's swashbuckling back nine in the final round of the 2004 Masters. Any fan reading it will be able to tell Mickelson stories for the rest of their lives... Reading the book there are times when Mickelson's generosity and sense of fun makes you want to like him. Other times when his lack of humility and smart-alec nature are hard to stomach.'

– David Walsh, Sunday Times

'Thoroughly engaging'

– Gene Wang, Washington Post

'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, bestselling author of A Course Called Ireland

'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, bestselling author of The Second Life of Tiger Woods

'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 unauthorised biography... Phil is well researched, bracingly written and full of previously unreported colour; 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 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 fanbase 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 has spent his whole career writing about and thinking about Phil, and that palpable fascination for his subject has fuelled 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 bestselling co-author of The Big Miss

'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 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

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