Mary Mickelson has been following in her children’s footsteps for the better part of four decades, trailing them on golf courses while offering support and encouragement all along the way.
As much as Mickelson has enjoyed herself through the years, Thursday morning’s opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open provided an opportunity to see her two sons walking the course together in a PGA Tour event.
Tim Mickelson began caddying for older brother Phil last summer, an arrangement that turned into a full-time job this year.
“This is the first time I’ve been able to come out in person and see them,” Mary said. “It’s very exciting because I know their personalities. I know what they’re thinking. I know what they’re probably saying to each other. It is really fun.”
Asked if she thought Tim was initially nervous to be on his brother’s bag, Mary said, “In the beginning, because he wasn’t as familiar with Phil’s swing and what (club) he might want to use, but Phil’s very comfortable with it now.
“In fact, (Tim) said he is enjoying it much more than he thought he would. It’s funny how life turns.”
Tim can be a calming influence for Phil on the course, according to their mother.
“He jokes with Phil,” Mary said. “He might say something like, ‘Get over it. We have more holes to go. You’re doing fine. Stuff like that.’ But Phil listens to Tim.”
Phil opened with a 2-under 70 on the North Course. The round included five birdies, the first coming at the 339-yard No. 11 (Phil’s round started on the back nine).
“He made it,” Mary exclaimed before giving a thumb’s up.
She was along the rope line two holes later to watch Phil’s tee shot. He gave her a wave and a smile moments later while walking toward the fairway.
The Mickelsons will be on the South Course for Friday’s second round, teeing off at 10:40 a.m.
Phil Sr. stayed at home, Mary said, as he gets over the flu. It’s a good bet dad’s name will come up a few times as they tour Torrey, however.
She was still tickled at the thought of her boys together, saying “just having your brother there where you can walk down (the fairway) and reminisce about all the times they were out here with their dad and junior golf and high school. This West Coast Swing is really a fun thing for them.”
And their mom.