Masters champ Phil Mickelson may be the anti-Tiger Woods now and a great family man, but there was a time he once aroused the ire of Irish Americans everywhere for comments he made about ugly Irish women.
It was back in 1991 when Mickelson was part of the American amateur team playing in the Walker Cup at Portmarnock Golf Club near Dublin.
Even back then Mickelson was a marked man, having owned a PGA event while still an amateur and blazing a trail as a great party animal when not on the fairways.
But his comments to an interviewer when asked about a difficult shot he made turned the Irish off in a big way, as Sports Illustrated reported at the time.
"Asked by a TV reporter on Thursday to comment on a replay that showed him hitting out of the rough near the gallery during that morning's play, Mickelson chuckled and said, 'That's not a place I want to be. The Irish women are not that attractive.'
Mickelson awoke the next morning to these headlines in two Dublin papers: "BAD BOY PHIL!" and "MASTERFUL MICKELSON DRAWS IRISH IRE." And there was trouble back home, where the Irish Consul in New York and ESPN, which broadcast Mickelson's words, both reported that they received a flurry of phone calls from angry Irish Americans.
"I knew I was in for it the moment I said it," Mickelson said later. "It was a bad joke, and I feel just terrible about it."
As Sports Illustrated noted, "The Irish love a rascal. And somebody should have told Phil Mickelson that last Friday night in Dublin. He was prowling the public rooms of the Berkeley Court Hotel after last week's Walker Cup competition, offering red-faced apologies for his youthful indiscretions."
I think we can give Phil a mulligan. He has certainly gone on to bigger and better things since.