We’ve heard some great golf gambling stories involving Phil Mickelson through the years. There’s the time he schooled Paul Azinger. The time he tricked Nick Watney into paying off a wager in pounds instead of dollars. Even the time he bet a fan (and lost) he could get up and down from a particularly bad lie. Even apparently losing $5,000 to young Aussie star Ryan Ruffels.
But this one, courtesy of Golf Magazine’s terrific oral history of “Tin Cup,” takes the cake. It occurred during the filming of the movie, which turns 20 August 16. Here’s Cheech Marin, who played Kevin Costner’s caddie in the classic golf film, describing what happened:
“We were between scenes, standing around, and someone came up with a bet,” Marin said. “There was this really tall pine tree, and someone said to Phil Mickelson, ‘I bet you can’t put your shoulder against the tree, drop a ball and hit it over the tree.’ The shot basically had to go straight up. Everybody threw in a hundred bucks. I think there was $1,200 in the pot. And he did it! When the ball was still in the air, Mickelson bent over, picked up the money, and put it in his pocket.”
This story has three fantastic elements to it. 1.) The shot – It sounds remarkable, if not impossible; 2.) The size of the pot – 12 people threw in $100 in cash?! 3.) The reaction – Can you be any cockier?
What will Phil do next? is a great saying. But just as importantly, we should all wonder what else has Phil already done?