The XX Factor

Can We Stop With the Phil vs. Tiger Stuff Already?

Ah, yes. Phil Mickelson is good/Tiger Woods is evil. I did not see the Barclays ad that you referenced , Emily, but I can picture it. And I can imagine the glee that Mickelson’s sponsors have felt in the wake of his Masters victory, having their next ad campaigns written for them. But excuse me while I stifle my yawn.

The story line is an easy target for ad copy writers, but it’s utter laziness for sportswriters to pick it up. Still, that hasn’t stopped anyone. You have an ages-old rivalry between two men, one of whom stepped away from the game to take care of his sick wife, while the other one was merely stepping out on his wife. And then the good guy wins the Masters. Woo hoo. Who needs Rick Reilly when you could probably have one of those keyword-generated news-article generators write this one?

If I sound a little exercised, it’s probably because I’m a little surprised to find myself agreeing with Jason Whitlock , a Fox Sports columnist whose views on male-female relationships I find to be more appropriate to the Mesozoic era. Still, he makes a few good points in his column today . Namely that we “know as little about Mickelson’s personal life as we did about Tiger’s before Thanksgiving.” In fact, Mickelson’s green jacket isn’t even back from the tailor’s yet, and Google Trends was lighting up yesterday with searches for “Amy Mickelson Michael Jordan affair.” Far-fetched and laughably unsubstantiated? Yes. But then, I’m sure most of of us would have thought the same thing about Tiger having an affair with a Perkins waitress up until about six months ago.

I don’t begrudge Mickelson his victory, and it’s a heartwarming story. Good for Phil. It’s precisely because of that I’m so annoyed by the Phil-Tiger/good-evil analogy. Mickelson, even with his three Masters victories, has spent much of his career in Tiger’s shadow. And now, at the moment of perhaps his greatest triumph, Tiger is still looming larger. If Phil really is the better man, then give him a break and let him enjoy his moment.