Behind every successful man, there is a woman. While golfer Phil Mickelson has been a very polarizing figure of late, we can be adamant about his success at the golf course. 45 PGA Tour wins and 6 Major Championships earned him respect among the esteemed golf circles in his 20 years on the PGA Tour. The woman behind ‘Lefty’ is his wife, Amy Mickelson, who is a cancer survivor and has had ties with the NBA before.
Formerly known as Amy McBride, the mother of three grew up in a tennis-watching family and had no idea about golf. “I grew up in a tennis family, and when he told me he was a pro golfer, I thought he worked in the shop at a golf course,” Amy wrote in Phil’s 2007 book, One Magical Sunday: (But Winning Isn’t Everything).
Amy attended Arizona State University and was two years junior to Phil. The latter was already making waves around the golf community, having won his first PGA Tour event, the Northern Telecom Open, in Tucson as an amateur. Amy, on the other hand, was part of the cheerleading team on the Phoenix Suns NBA Cheerleading squad. Apart from the side-hustle she managed to create by being a cheerleader (Suns’ cheerleaders earn around $200 now), being a part of the cheerleading team had its benefits too, with Amy meeting NBA Legend Charles Barkley, who joined the Phoenix Suns in 1992.
It was Amy who had convinced Barkley to play a game of golf with Mickelson, which ultimately began a long lasting friendship between the two.
The Phoenix Suns have never won the NBA Championship, but they did reach the finals in 1993, a year after Phil and Amy started seeing each other.
Even though she had little knowledge of the sport, Amy followed Phil to golf tournaments before the two eventually got married on November 16, 1996. She has been a presence by his side ever since, and her rare absence is only marked by important moments in the family.
One of them occurred at the 1999 U.S. Open, where Phil declared he would have to leave the tournament early to be by Amy’s side, who was due to go into labor at any moment for their first child. Amy did go into labor but decided not to inform Phil, who would go on to lose the tournament by merely one stroke. He did get back to Amy in time, though, for the birth of their oldest child, Amanda.
On May 20, 2009, Phil’s management firm announced that Amy had been diagnosed with breast cancer and would undergo treatment and a “major surgery”. The news led to Phil suspending his golf schedule indefinitely, but returned to play the following month after hearing from doctors that Amy’s cancer had been caught early and would be treatable.
Further sad news would soon follow the Mickelson family, as Phil’s mother, Mary Mickelson, was also diagnosed with breast cancer. It was these battles that eventually bore fruit at the 2010 Masters Tournament, where Phil Mickelson won his third Green Jacket. Amy didn’t attend the initial rounds of the event but was present with her children to cheer for her husband on his way to winning what remains his last Masters victory.
The couple has also set up the Phil and Amy Mickelson Foundation, a private organization that raises money for charity. Being a cancer survivor herself, Amy has actively taken part in working at the organization. In 2019, The Mickelson Foundation became the host organization of The American Express PGA Tour event, putting Phil amongst the likes of Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer as PGA Tour players to host an official event.