Phil Mickelson’s television debut was (in typical Phil style) a reckless and thrilling success. In his hour on the CBS booth during the third round of the PGA Championship from TPC Harding Park, Mickelson was engaging, fun, informative and without apology – and golf enthusiasts beloved it.
But perhaps more impressive than his success on camera is the overwhelming benevolence he received from the television community for his debut (with the exception of Nick Faldo, who was the butt of more than a few jokes).
Within weeks of Phil’s debut, you can count Brandel Chamblee and Paul Azinger among those affected.
“I love Phil,” Azinger said. “I thought it was great on the stand. He could do it anytime he wants. He and Faldo went there a bit like Faldo and I went there. I think sometimes it’s nice to have a foil, and it’s kind of what it seemed to me. “
Chamblee echoed Azinger’s sentiment, even going so far as to compare Lefty to another top player who has become Jim Nantz’s right-hand man.
“I think he could honestly walk into the booth and be Tony Romo-esque,” Chamblee said in a media conference call on Monday. “It sounded like – look, he’s got a little bit of – and he’ll admit, he’s got a little bit of BS in him. He has a little: he wants to understand things. He wants to give you the needle. He wants to have fun. He enjoyed himself – he likes all the talk in the game, and that’s a great comment. “
In 2017, Romo was hired by CBS Sports shortly after his retirement from the NFL to serve as the network’s principal football color analyst. Almost immediately, it became a television phenomenon known for its penchant for predicting games before they happened.
In the spring of 2020, Romo signed a 10-year extension for $ 180 million dollars with the network. The Romo deal is believed to be the highest paying contract in the history of sports broadcasting.
Phil, on the other hand, is busy winning Champions Tour events and marketing his “Coffee for Wellness”. For Chamblee, Mickelson and Romo share the rare intersection of entertainment and intuition.
“I listen to every word that is said on the air and check and cross-check, and I find myself throwing for commentators as much as I do players,” Chamblee said. “I want them to tell me something I don’t know. I want them to tell me something that no one else has thought of, and it’s hard to do because the whole world is kicking and scratching for the same information and they all have the same information, and I thought Phil did. “
And while Phil has no plans to retire to the booth anytime soon, the two NBC stars are eager to see where his television career ends.
“I thought it was funny; some of the most exciting golf courses I’ve seen was watching Mickelson in the cabin, “Azinger said.” I loved him. “