Commentator Jim Nantz says Phil Mickelson once suffered a devastating loss in their fantasy football league’s championship.
Nantz believed the loss was so severe that it affected Mickelson’s play on the pitch the following week.
Nantz’s story is one of many told in a new Mickelson biography by golf author Alan Shipnuck.
Phil Mickelson loves to talk trash.
Whether he’s bugging longtime rival Tiger Woods or trolling fellow golfers who haven’t won a green jacket, Mickelson’s gift for muzzlement is among their best.
But according to a new biography, Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar, by Alan Shipnuck, Mickelson’s penchant for trash talk has brought him back at times.
Exploring every facet of Mickelson’s career, Shipnuck’s book begins with a chapter in which personalities from Mickelson’s life and from around the golfing world share their best Mickelson stories, good and bad.
In his Phil story, longtime sports commentator Jim Nantz reveals that he and Mickelson have been in the same fantasy football league for years, and that while Mickelson is a hell of a mastermind, he’s also been hit by the fantasy football woes.
“He takes it very seriously and he’s good at it — he’s won the championship a couple of times,” Nantz told Shipnuck. “We hold the draft in person in a hotel conference room each year during Northern Trust [tournament], and Phil has never missed one. In 2013, he was staying at another hotel in Jersey City a few blocks away, so he walked over… with the Claret Jug.”
“Some good wine was drunk from it that night,” said Nantz.
But while Mickelson might be a funny hang on draft night, Nantz says he gets pretty serious when the league is at stake.
“The best story is from 2020,” said Nantz. “Phil had Alvin Kamara as his running back when he hit six touchdowns in Week 16. This gave Phil such a large lead in the standings that it was virtually certain he would win the title. I’m talking about a 99.999 percent probability.”
Chances are Kamara’s outstanding performance against the Vikings on Christmas Day will be remembered by many fantasy football managers around the world.
“He gleefully emailed the whole league. I mean, he just kept going and going and really laying it on thick. Well, the team that was in second place had Josh Allen at quarterback and in the last game of the season Monday night Allen grabbed 39 points and Phil lost the title by a point.”
Nantz even went so far as to say he believed the loss even showed up on the golf course.
“He was devastated,” said Nantz. “Absolutely devastated. He took it so hard that I honestly think it affected his game on the west coast swing.”
Mickelson’s result streak after losing in fantasy football lends some credence to Nantz’s theory – in his first three tournaments of the new year, Mickelson had two missed cuts and a T53 finish.
Still, Mickelson would bounce back in the summer and win the PGA Championship in May, becoming the oldest player to ever win a major. However, he will not defend his title and will be withdrawing from this weekend’s event at the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after announcing a leave of absence from competitive golf in February. Mickelson has not played a PGA Tour event since his inflammatory comments (to Shipnuck for the book) about a possible golf tour and Saudi Arabia came to light.
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