Advertisement

Charles Barkley on golf partners: Tiger 'not fun,' with Mickelson 'guaranteed to have fun'

Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the 10th hole while Phil Mickelson gets ready to hit during the final round of the 2020 Zozo Championship at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. Photo by John McCoy/PGA Tour via Getty Images
Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the 10th hole while Phil Mickelson gets ready to hit during the final round of the 2020 Zozo Championship at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. Photo by John McCoy/PGA Tour via Getty Images

The Phil Mickelson news cycle keeps churning, with the latest revelation centered on $40 million in gambling losses.

Alan Shipnuck, author of the forthcoming Mickelson biography, “Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf's Most Colorful Superstar,” revealed that Mickelson gambled away a staggering sum of money from 2010-14 on the Fire Pit Collective website.

While the bulk of the latest reveal peels back the curtain on Mickelson's prolific gambling losses, an interesting part has to do with Charles Barkley.

As Shipnuck writes, Barkley is one of the few people in the inner circles of both Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

"One of the reasons Phil has lasted so long is because he's had a joyful life," Barkley said. "Tiger won a bunch of tournaments, but there wasn't much joy in it. Sure, Tiger is a better golfer. You're just in awe of his talent. But it's not fun to be around him. Everyone in his world is uptight ... afraid to say or do the wrong thing. Tiger himself has always acted like he's under siege. Gimme a break. You're just a golfer, dude. When you're with Phil, you're guaranteed to have fun. He makes people feel good. Everyone around him is always smiling. That's a huge difference, man.”

Shipnuck's book will be released May 17, the Tuesday of PGA Championship week.

Barkley's friendship with Tiger goes back many years but Barkley became good friends with Mickelson along the way. In November of 2020, the two teamed up to win Capital One's The Match against Steph Curry and Peyton Manning at Stone Canyon north of Tucson on a golf course Mickelson owned at the time.

A year later, Mickelson and Barkley served as analysts in Las Vegas during the fifth installment of The Match, which pitted Bryson DeChambeau against Brooks Koepka.

"Charles is one of the funniest people I know and he's one of the quickest wit," Mickelson said at the time.

Mickelson is the defending champion of the PGA. He's registered for the tournament but it's unknown if he'll play. He and Woods are on the updated field list that was released by the PGA of America on Monday afternoon.

Jun 1, 2021; Scottsdale, Arizona, USA; Golf balls sit on a driving range during the NCAA Men's Golf Championship Quarterfinal at Grayhawk Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 1, 2021; Scottsdale, Arizona, USA; Golf balls sit on a driving range during the NCAA Men's Golf Championship Quarterfinal at Grayhawk Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Volunteers needed

Grayhawk Golf Club, host venue for the 2022 NCAA Men's and Women's Golf Championships, is seeking volunteers for the event. Duties include marshal, practice area, standard bearer, walking scorer, supply distribution and volunteer headquarters.

Volunteers are required to work at least four shifts. Volunteers who work eight shifts will get a free twosome at Grayhawk, valid June 5-Sept. 14, 2022, Sunday through Wednesday.

The NCAA Women's Championship is May 20-June 1. The Men's Championship is May 27-June 1.

New First Tee leader

First Tee-Phoenix named fifth generation Arizonan Erin McDonough its new executive director.

McDonough returns to the Valley after working as the executive director of the WOU Foundation at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon, where she led all fundraising, development, alumni relations and marketing communications. She's also previously worked for the American Heart Association, Utah State University and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

McDonough will now oversee one of the largest First Tee chapters in the U.S. First Tee is a youth development organization that teaches life skills and helps children and teens build strength of character through the game of golf.

"I am excited to bring my passion for helping kids build character and succeed in life to the First Tee – Phoenix," McDonough said in a release. "By utilizing the game of golf to teach life skills, we create learning experiences that build inner strength, self-confidence, and resilience. This is a dream job for me."

Get better

May is "Player Development Month" at Troon-affiliated facilities and Troon Golf Academies around the world.

Golfers of all skill levels can take advantage of increased opportunities for instruction and lessons, which includes golf clinics, virtual/social instructional content, putting challenges and more. This is the 10th year that Troon has celebrated May as Player Development Month.

Clinics vary by facility. Fees are $50 for adults and free for junior golfers 17 and under. Information: troon.com/player-development.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Charles Barkley: Tiger Woods no fun to be around but Phil Mickelson is