A day for the aged: Mickelson brings out greatness in our game

No more excuses.

Think you’re too old? Look at Phil Mickelson.

Don’t think you can curb your temper on the golf course? Watch how Lefty does it.

Don’t have enough time to practice? Observe how much he loves our great game after all these years.

After the last 14-plus months of isolation and turmoil, the world enjoyed a parade Sunday at Kiawah Island, and Mickelson was the grand marshal. It’s hard to imagine a more inspirational moment in any sport in recent memory.

It’s a wakeup call, and it all comes down to this: Quite simply, Lefty just loves to play golf.

That’s exactly what I’ve been preaching in this space for the last 7½ years.

Love the game.

Respect the game.

Play the game.

It’s not about results. Forget score. Just go play.

Sure, Lefty desperately wanted to win Sunday. We all want to play well, every time.

But I’m glad it wasn’t easy. Even when he took a four-shot lead, I figured he would need at least half of that margin to bring it home.

The beauty of golf is that it never gets easy. Even when I’m playing lights-out, I can’t help but feel as if disaster is lurking around every corner.

That’s doubly true at a place like Kiawah Island, where Mickelson had to navigate one be-careful shot after another.

But there was more to it than the fact that he successfully carved out a winning score. It was the way he did it.

Have you ever seen Mickelson throw a club?

Have you ever heard him shout a naughty word after a bad shot?

Have you ever noticed him being anything but appreciative of the fans? His thumbs must be worn out after all the times he thumbs-upped the crowd Sunday.

No wonder he’s the people’s champion. No wonder he’s a role model for what golf is all about.

We all should strive for that reputation. If we all acted like Lefty on the golf course, it would be an even better place.

And we all would be better players if we emulated his practice habits.

It doesn’t take that long to hit a bucket of balls, nor is it that expensive. On top of that, it is pure enjoyment. Relaxing. Therapeutic. Sometimes even enlightening.

There also are lots of opportunities to get in an extra round of golf, especially late in the day. You don’t need to plan it a week in advance. You just need to see an opening in your schedule and grab it.

I’ll bet there will be lots of people out on the course this week reveling in the sport and talking about what Mickelson accomplished simply because they were turned on by the moment.

I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that equipment sales will pick up even more with more people eager to see what the fun is all about and play golf regularly for the first time.

There couldn’t have been a better advertisement for golf than Sunday’s scene, right down to the crowd that encircled the 18th green.

It was magical. It was emotional. And it was so Phil.

To top it all off, there was the phone call to his wife afterward, complete with the I-love-yous and can’t-wait-to-see-yous.

It wasn’t a feel-good moment. It was a feel-great moment.

It also was a lesson.

No more excuses. Get out there. Now.

And be like Lefty.

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