Last summer, Phil Mickelson played in the U.S. Open just weeks after learning that his wife Amy had been diagnosed with breast cancer. And for 68 of the 72 holes, he looked like he was going to bring home a storybook win. It didn't work out for him there, but on a perfect Sunday afternoon in Augusta, everything broke Phil's way.
Mickelson entered the day a stroke behind Lee Westwood for first place, but consistent play throughout, punctuated by the bizarre (a leaf, of all things, affecting one putt) and the jaw-dropping (one of the best Masters shots ever) put him atop the leaderboard to stay. He ended up winning by three strokes, efficiently canning a birdie to close out a spectacular round.
And for the most part, Amy Mickelson watched it on television with the rest of us. She's always been one of the most beloved members of the extended PGA Tour family, but her illness has kept her out of the public eye for most of the last year. She was in Augusta all week, but unable to walk the course, and she spent all but Phil's final few holes in a house near Augusta National.
But late Sunday afternoon, with Phil drawing ever closer to his third green jacket, she came to the 18th green, and was there to greet him when he walked off. Their long embrace, their words for each other alone -- it was one of the most touching moments in Augusta's long history.
Congrats to Phil and Amy Mickelson. Here's hoping their greatest victories are still ahead.