Phil Mickelson’s “FIGJAM” nickname is a complicated etymology. It derives from his early days on tour, when his spirited demeanour and unshakeable conviction rubbed peers the wrong way. That generation is gone, their disgust and envy replaced with a younger group that looks at Mickelson as a statesmen with respect and reverence.
Not that Mickelson’s self-assurance has gone by the wayside. A dose of hubris is needed to be a successful professional athlete, especially so in the case of someone like Mickelson who’s battling competitors half his age. But lest you think time has mellowed out Lefty, this back-and-forth from his press conference should clear any confusion.
Last weekend’s victory was Mickelson’s 43rd US PGA Tour career victory. An impressive total, good enough for ninth on the tour’s all-time wins list. Amazingly, a reporter – funny bunch of squirrels, those reporters – asked Mickelson if he could get to 50 wins. A nice round figure sure, but a total that seems absurdly out of reach. Perhaps more shocking was Phil’s answer:
“Oh, I will get there,” Mickelson said, cutting off the reporter before he could finish the question.
Now, pump the brakes and take a moment to drink that in. Mickelson is turning 48 this June, and as well as he’s played this season, it was almost five years between win No.42 (the 2013 British Open) to last weekend’s triumph outside Mexico City. He’s putting up a valiant effort against Father Time yes, but he’s at a juncture in his career which, historically, has not been kind to those his age.
But Mickelson has no stomach for such realities. Besides, that only applies to mere mortals. This is Phil Mickelson we’re talking about.
“I don’t know,” Mickelson continued, replying to when he’ll reach 50 wins. “Seven more wins and I’ll be there. I don’t have the month or the time, but I will get there.”
If the good folks at Urban Dictionary need a FIGJAM example, this quote should suffice.