Mickelson feeling on top of the world from the support ‘Down Under’

Fatiha Betscher

Phil Mickelson (Image: Masters Media)

Fatiha Betscher

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Phil Mickelson’s feeling on the top of the world from the support he’s already receiving ‘down under’ in Adelaide.

Mickelson arrived Monday into Australia’s fourth largest city for a first visit to the country in a dozen years since he was a member of the victorious Fred Couples captained 2011 USA Presidents Cup team at Royal Melbourne.

Two others in that team, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson, will join Mickelson teeing-up Friday on The Grange course.

Of course, the 52-year-old Mickelson is coming off the high in finishing joint runner-up in last fortnight’s Masters, brilliantly rekindling the over-50s form of two years earlier in capturing the 2021 PGA Championship, and in the process becoming the game’s oldest major champion.

‘Lefty’s’ Augusta strong showing also saw him jump 347 places to the new World No. 72.

The ‘Sold Out’ sign is already up on the front gates of The Grange with around 65,000 fans in an international sporting event starved South Australian capital just itching to enjoy the fun and excitement of ‘LIV Golf Adelaide’.

“We’ve only just arrived here in Adelaide and the support shown by Adelaide and Australia has been exceptional”, said Mickelson.

“We’re excited to be here.”

But despite the excitement building by the day ahead of Friday’s historic tee-off, you can never please everyone including local Federal parliamentarian, Rebekha Sharkie who said: “I don’t think it’s a good look at all.”

Sharkie would seem among the minority as Adelaide has been crying out for an international sporting event since 1996 when Melbourne, in the neighbouring state of Victoria, ‘pinched’ the annual hosting of the Australian F1 Grand Prix after Adelaide hosted the event from 1985 to 1995.

Sydneysider Matt Jones, a double Australian Open champ plus also a double winner on the PGA Tour, including victory two years ago at the Honda Classic, summed-up the mood of the South Australians before the announcement LIV Golf was coming to Adelaide.

“Australia has been starved for some real quality fields for golf tournaments for a long time, especially the international players,” he said.

“And we’ve seen since the news became official just how excited Adelaide and all Aussie sports fans are looking forward to this week.”

Fellow Aussie and Victorian-born Marc Leishman reckons part of the reason he moved to LIV was the prospect of more high quality tournaments in his ‘down under’ nation.

“It’s a big part, among other reasons, why a lot of us guys came over, to be able to take golf back to Australia, spend more time here,” said Leischman, who is managed by the same team as good friend Cam Smith.

“Growing up, I remember watching Greg Norman and Steve Elkington and Ian Baker-Finch and all those guys.

“Kids nowadays don’t get too much of a chance to do that, particularly around Australia.”

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