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May 7, 2012

Mickelson first AJGA alum into Hall of Fame

It didn’t take long for people to realize that the “Lefty” golfer from San Diego was something special. Long before the three national championships, 40 PGA TOUR wins and four major victories, Phil Mickelson was a junior golfer with a big smile and big dreams.  Now, he becomes the first AJGA player to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.   

Phil played AJGA tournaments in the early days of the Association’s history. He participated in 26 AJGA events from 1985-1989, boasting 12 victories – the most individual career titles ever held by an AJGA boy. Mickelson was a three-time champion at both the Rolex Tournament of Champions and the ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior, earning him the coveted Rolex Junior Player of the Year honor for a record three years (1986, 1987, 1988).

“Phil was a spirited and talented golfer – not much has changed,” said AJGA Executive Director Stephen Hamblin. “When he started playing AJGA tournaments at age 14, we immediately knew that he was someone who would go far in his career.”

Beyond the wins and records in his teenage years, Mickelson served as an AJGA Player Representative on the Board of Directors. Phil’s position on the board provided the Association with a junior’s perspective and gave the AJGA staff another reason to think that Phil was a special player. Twenty years later, Mickelson again joined the AJGA Board of Directors, this time as National Chairman, serving from 2004 to 2010 alongside Vicki Goetze-Ackerman. He also supports the AJGA’s Thunderbird International Junior, an event he envisioned.

 "Phil's Hall of Fame credentials extend far beyond the golf course,” said Tournament Co-Chairman Mike Kennedy. “Fourteen years ago Phil challenged The Thunderbirds and Grayhawk Golf Club to develop the most competitive junior golf tournament in the world, and his inspiration, oversight and generous annual financial support from the Phil and Amy Mickelson Foundation made that happen."

Mickelson will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on May 7 alongside British broadcasting giant Peter Alliss, American sportswriting legend Dan Jenkins, European star Sandy Lyle and three-time U.S. Women's Open champion Hollis Stacy.

“We’ve had the opportunity to know this outstanding individual in many capacities and want to thank Phil for his contributions to the game and to our organization,” Hamblin said. “Congratulations to Phil, his team, family and parents. It is an unbelievable honor.”