San Diego’s own Phil Mickelson was giving back to his hometown Monday at Fairbanks Ranch Country Club.
Mickelson, a World Golf Hall of Famer, was the featured guest at the Freedom to Live charity golf tournament.
Freedom to Live helps people who have suffered catastrophic injuries, many of them quadriplegic.
For years, Mickelson has donated to Freedom to Live but this was his first year attending the tournament.
Before teeing off, everyone got a free clinic from the 5-time Major champion, who called the event very important to him.
“It’s fun for me to be a part of this, it’s an awesome event that really helps out some people in need and it’s fun for me to be a part of it," he said.
Mickelson did swing demonstrations, answered questions, and shared some chipping tips.
Short game secrets from a short game legend!
“I hope it helps, I hope that it improves their game, but golf is such an individual sport there’s so many different ways to swing a club you have to siphon through what works best for you. In chipping, there’s a pretty good rule of thumb for what works and what doesn’t, and hopefully these will help out," he said.
Of course, Mickelson posed for pictures and signed autographs. No one was happier about that than little Ethan Elleraas, a huge Phil Fan.
“That was cool that I got to see him in person," Elleraas said. "He signed my hat for me and he gave me his glove and signed it.”
You can be sure that Ethan was listening to Mickelson’s chipping tips.
“If you want to flop it put your feet back behind the ball, or your toe with the ball,” said Ethan.
Mickelson is gearing up for a Nov. 23 made for TV $9 million match play event against Tiger Woods.
”I’m really excited about the match. We’ve got three weeks, I’m working in the gym right now, then in about four days I’ll get back on the golf course," Mickelson said. "I’m excited to get back on the course at Shadow Creek and play Tiger, it’s a fun event. It’s been great for me this off season, because it’s kept me working on my game even though I’m not playing in tournaments, I’ve had to get my club speed up and just work on the right things, hopefully this will help not only in the match, but for a great 2019 season.”
The gambling odds on the Tiger Phil match have Tiger as a 2-1 favorite, meaning any money wagered on Mickelson could be a big winner.
How does Mickelson feel about being the underdog?
“I like it, the payoff on my side is very good, I like it.”
Will Mickelson be money in that head up match with Tiger Woods? Who knows, but we do know that Mickelson was money Monday as he stepped up to aid the local charity Freedom to Live.