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‘Bull****… Just throw the first punch’: A furious Phil Mickelson once argued with a reporter

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Phil Mickelson was the most fearless golfer of his time. The golfer does not hesitate to tell the truth and to defend himself when necessary. To side with LIV Golf when most golfers were hesitant is truly a representation of Mickelson’s courage. Today we look back at a young Phil Mickelson, who had a heated exchange with a popular golf journalist almost 23 years ago.

Long before his 6 major championships, Phil Mickelson was attracting the attention of the golf world with his emerging talent. In 1999, Lefty had the first opportunity to claim his first major victory at the US Open.

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However, he fell short with just one shot difference to lose against Payne Stewart. The golfer was touching the hearts of many around the world with his rise through the ranks until he had a heated exchange with a golf journalist during that year’s PGA Championship. The young journalist was none other than the famous Sports Illustrated writer, Alan Shipnuck.

Alan Shipnuck’s altercation with Phil Mickelson

Most new golf fans should be fairly familiar with the name Alan Shipnuck associated with Phil Mickelson. The writer wrote the 6-time major champion’s popular unofficial autobiography book, named “Phil: The Heartbreaking (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar”. The book came out earlier this year and quickly received a wide response about Mickelson’s personal life.

Golf – The inaugural LIV Golf Invitational – Centurion Club, Hemel Hempstead, St Albans, Britain – June 9, 2022 Team Hy Flyers Phil Mickelson of the United States during the first round Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

Along with many other stories, Shipnuck also shared the 1999 PGA Championship incident in the book. The writer claimed to have seen the other side of Mickelson as the golfer seemed unhappy with a past story he didn’t like.

Shipnuck wrote “a weekly reader’s mailbagfor CNNSI.com at the time. Lefty was made aware of a conversation regarding Mickelson’s body that had taken place online. He was called “Full Mickelsonby a reader. Another person trolled asking if Mickelson or his wife Amy were expecting.

Alan Shipnuck wrote:I don’t know if he confused the readers’ words and made them my own or if he was miffed that I was giving a platform to such sophomoric talk (in retrospect, a valid objection); Anyway, Phil was spoiling a fight when, back in Medina, I asked him a benign question for a Ryder Cup preview story.

Golf – The Inaugural LIV Golf Invitational – Centurion Club, Hemel Hempstead, St Albans, Britain – June 10, 2022 Team Hy Flyer’s Phil Mickelson of the United States during the second round REUTERS/Paul Childs

An unfortunate Phil Mickelson responded by saying: “I’m not going to answer that because I don’t respect you as a writer.”. This led to complete silence among journalists. According to Shipnuck, the two moved to a more secluded tunnel near the grandstand and chatted there.

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Shipnuck claims that Mickelson told him what he wrote in his “small web column” has been “bull****”. Mickelson then allegedly told the reporter to throw a punch. Lefty said: “If you got a problem with me, just throw the first punch”. Shipnuck claimed that Mickelson got closer and said: “Just throw the first punch”. Lefty then, faced with stunned silence, said: “That’s what I thought”. He then left, Shipnuck claimed.

Phil Mickelson was the victim of criticism from an early age. Despite the hate, the left-handed golfer overcame the odds to become one of this generation’s top talents.

When will Phil Mickelson get his first victory at LIV Golf? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Watch this story: Greg Norman’s message to Phil Mickelson goes viral

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