“That’s a win for the family.” CBS commentator Jim Nantz told the television audience as Phil Mickelson birdied the 72nd and final hole to secure his win at the 74th Masters Tournament at Augusta National on April 11.
Overshadowed earlier in the week by Tiger Woods’ return to the game, Mickelson’s win ended an arduous 11-month personal journey that began in May with devastating news and ended Sunday with the ultimate triumph.
Last May, Mickelson’s wife, Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer. The stunning diagnosis put Phil’s golf future in question. Driven by emotion, Phil finished second at the 2009 US Open at Bethpage Black in New York.
That wasn’t the worst of it. In July, Phil’s mother Mary was also diagnosed with breast cancer. After this diagnosis, Phil skipped the 2009 Open Championship to be with his mother while she underwent surgery. After returning in August, Phil wasted no time when he won the Tour Championship in September to finish the season 2nd behind Tiger Woods.
At Augusta, Phil trailed Lee Westwood by 5 strokes after 12 holes in the third round and seemed on his way to yet another runner-up finish in a major. After closing to within one stroke by the end of Saturday thanks to the help of two consecutive eagles and four birdies, Phil shot a 67 on Sunday without a single bogey, securing his third green jacket and the most memorable victory of his career.
After his winning birdie, Phil and Amy engaged in a tearful, memorable embrace that won the hearts of everyone who watched the tournament in person or on television, and will not soon be forgotten.
While Tiger’s return was one of the stories of the weekend, Phil Mickelson’s win, and embrace of his wife, will be why most fans remember the 2010 Masters.