Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar by Alan Shipnuck. Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster. 256 pages. 2022
Alan Shipnuck conducted nearly two hundred interviews for this book (players, caddies, swing coaches, etc.). He only spoke to Phil Mickelson once for the book, and that one call has caused all sorts of problems for Mickelson (his comments about Saudi Arabia and the PGA Tour), which continue to this day.
The author writes that Mickelson, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, winner of six major championships and 45 PGA Tour wins, tied for eighth all-time, is an enigma. His fans adore “Lefty”, who responds to their cheers with a grin and a “thumbs up”. But his longtime caddy, Jim “Bones” Mackay (who Mickelson owed $900,000), stated “Nobody knows Phil Mickelson. Nobody. I spent twenty-five years standing next to the guy and he’s still a total mystery to me.”
In this book, the author shares both positives (how he has helped other players, his philanthropic work, his generosity with those in the service industry, and his random acts of kindness), and negatives (his ties with men of ill repute, his huge gambling debts – he had gambling losses totaling more than $40 million in the four-year period 2010–14) – and becoming involved in a messy insider-trading case) about Mickelson.3 The author tells us that the book is an attempt to reconcile the multitudes within Mickelson, and help us understand who the real Phil Mickelson is.
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The book begins with Michelson physically confronting the author after the 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah Country Club in Chicago. During that incident, Mickelson told the author “You think you know me, but you don’t.”
The author tells us that when Mickelson was nine years old, his father built a putting green in the backyard of their San Diego home. He writes that it was the creation of the backyard green that changed everything. Mickelson would spend hours on end hitting chip after pitch, usually alone, sometimes with his dad.
He would go on to be first-team All-American all four years at Arizona State University, and win the Haskins Award as the male college player of the year his final three years. Mickelson would make his PGA Tour debut, at seventeen.
Phil married Amy McBride in 1996, and the book paints their marriage and family life in a positive manner. The book spends a lot of time about the competition between Mickelson and Tiger Woods. Mickelson is portrayed by some as being a “know it all”, phony, and strident about PGA Tour politics.
I enjoyed the many stories about Mickelson from the people the author interviewed. The book, which will definitely tarnish Mickelson’s public image, does include a significant amount of adult language, oftentimes as it is quoting Mickelson.
- Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold. My wife Tammy has published a book about HOW to study the Bible. The book is available on Amazon in both a Kindle and paperback edition. She writes “Maybe you’ve read the Bible but want to dig deeper and know God and know yourself better. Throughout the book I use the analogy of making a quilt to show how the Bible is telling one big story about what God is doing in the world through Christ. Quilting takes much patience and precision, just like studying the Bible, but the end result is well worth it.”
- Open Book. Open Bookis a podcast about the power of books and the people they’ve shaped. In season three, special guest Joel Beeke invites Stephen Nichols on a tour of his library—a place filled with literary treasures that have impacted his life and ministry. From discussions on classics like The Pilgrim’s Progress to reflections on writings by Dutch Reformers, this new season is one to remember.
BOOK CLUB – Won’t you read along with us?
Providence by John Piper
The providence of God is his purposeful sovereignty by which he will be completely successful in the achievement of his ultimate goal for the universe. God’s providence carries his plans into action, guides all things toward his ultimate goal, and leads to the final consummation.
John Piper draws on a lifetime of theological reflection, biblical study, and practical ministry to lead readers on a stunning tour of the sightings of God’s providence—from Genesis to Revelation—to discover the all-encompassing reality of God’s purposeful sovereignty over all of creation and all of history.
Exploring the goal, nature, and extent of God’s purposes for the world, Piper offers an invitation to know the God who holds all things in his hands yet remains intimately involved in the lives of his people.
You can download the PDF of the book free from Desiring God.
Watch this six-minute video as John Piper talks about the book, and this interview with Dr. Joe Rigney of Bethlehem College & Seminary.
This week we look at Chapter 29: Israel Hated, Pharaoh Hardened, God Exalted, Helpless Saved. Here are a few quotes from the chapter:
- One of the most important details to observe in the story of the exodus is that before Moses even arrives in Egypt to confront Pharaoh with God’s command that he let Israel go, God’s plan was to harden Pharaoh’s heart.
- God’s hardening of Pharaoh’s heart was not a mere response to Pharaoh’s self-hardening. It was a plan from the beginning.
- Nothing in man, good or bad, past, present, or foreseen, determines who is hardened and who is shown mercy.
- God makes the choice to treat one with mercy and one with hardening unconditionally. Nothing in any person provides a criterion for one being hardened and another receiving mercy. The distinction lies in the will of God. The distinction lies not in man. Yet those who are hardened are truly guilty and truly deserve judgment for the rebellious condition of their hearts.