Jordan Spieth’s revelation that he retains an autograph of Phil Mickelson that he had signed when he was around 12-years-old is another of those remarkable stories in golf. Mickelson’s autograph appears on the front cover of a 2004 edition of Sports Illustrated magazine. It’s the now famous photograph of Mickelson jumping for joy in capturing the 2004 Masters and his first major championship title.
Spieth was asked ahead of this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge, being hosted again on Spieth’s beloved Colonial club in Fort Worth, whether he had collected Mickelson’s autograph as a youngster. Spieth’s answer was absolutely brilliant.
“I did. I actually — I still have it,” said Spieth when asked the question. “I actually know where it is now that I mention it. I have the Sports Illustrated with the jump when he won the Masters, when he was in mid-air six feet off the ground, with his signature on it.
“I won it in an auction at my sister’s school when I was really young. I must have been like 12 or 13 or 14 or something. But I remember going out and following him because he would come to the Byron Nelson and play. I came to the Colonial a couple times in grade school as well, and he’s always been good at this tournament.”
Which prompted a follow-up question and that was the first time Spieth had met the now six-time major champion.
“The first time I met Phil? I remember the first time I was paired with him was 2013 in the playoffs, and it was the final round of the Deutsche bank, and I played really well,” he said.
“Then he went out and called Freddy Couples to help get me onto the President’s Cup team. So my first kind of playing with him encounter couldn’t have gone any better. But I mean, over the years, just being in rooms with him at those team events is probably the most memorable times with him, but also any round that you play, just how he treats everybody.
“Obviously, the thrill of watching his rounds of golf, where he could go shoot — he could have six birdies in a row. He could also hit a drive onto a different hole and still make birdie, and he could look like he’s — I mean, it’s Phil the thrill, right?
“It’s just so much fun talking to him. He’s got a wealth of knowledge. He’s always been really helpful to the younger guys on getting us pumped up, inspired, somebody you could bounce ideas off of, whatever you want to call him, a 10, a 5, wherever he’s going to be, a place in the game in history, to have that person be so welcoming and be so good to the younger generation out here too and then set the example he has, I think we’re really lucky with that.
“I don’t think, in life or in other sport, you necessarily get that kind of opportunity to open up. I was fortunate to kind of have that just by watching him.”
Spieth also spoke of his fondness for Colonial as this week will be his ninth appearance in the tournament having won the event in 2016.
“I love Colonial. I’ve had a lot of success here, won once, and then finished runner-up a couple times,” said Spieth. “I had chances to win a number of years. I love this golf course, Hogan’s Alley, you’ve got to hit a lot of different golf shots. I get a lot of great support in this Dallas/Fort Worth area and have for those last nine years.”