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A newfound respect for Phil

I’ve never been a Phil Mickelson fan. I think his “everyman” image is in stark contrast to the fact he’s actually lived a life of privilege. Anyway, my opinion is still the same, but this story from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has changed it slightly.

Turns out a former NFL player, Conrad Dobler, has had all sorts of health problems. That has led to concerns about whether he could pay for his healthcare and his daughter’s education. When the story appeared, the NFL didn’t come to his rescue. Instead Phil stepped up:

Into this tragic story rides an unlikely knight. One day the phone rang at Dobler’s home in Leawood, Kan. On the other end was Glenn Cohen, a lawyer for Phil Mickelson. Cohen informed Dobler that his client had become aware of the situation and wanted to help by paying for his daughter’s college education.

Holli Dobler is now a sophomore at Miami University in Ohio. It’s an expensive ticket, but it is the school of her choice, a school she is able to attend because of Mickelson’s generosity. Conrad Dobler has never met Phil Mickelson, never even talked to him.

“I asked his lawyer, ‘Why is he doing this? I don’t even know Phil,’ ” Dobler said. “He said, ‘Because he can.’

“You know, I was raised a Catholic and everyone used to say there is an angel someplace looking out after you. You never take it seriously and then something like this happens. It forces you to have a different perspective.”

The NFL’s outrageous lack of accountability is an important message here. They who are living so lavishly in pro football’s house are responsible to those who are paying the mortgage with pain pills, surgeries and prosthetics.

At the same time, the Mickelson sidebar is a beacon, evidence that there is still some humility and decency among sports figures. The winner of 29 PGA Tour events and three major championships, Mickelson also contributes $100 per birdie and $500 per eagle to Birdies for the Brave, which forwards the money to Homes for Our Troops and Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Both are organizations that support wounded soldiers and families that have lost loved ones in combat.

Mickelson does that in a public way, to raise awareness, invite additional contributions. When asked about assisting the Doblers, Mickelson politely declines to comment. He’s not looking for publicity, just looking to help. He has even included cost of living increases in his contributions.

The full story is here.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • RT.

    I think that is a very nice story. Thanks for sharing it. It is nice to see that Phil does indeed have a soft side, for situations that obvioulsy move him to assist.

    Good for Phil

  • You are dead wrong about Phil having a privilege. His mother worked 2 jobs to cover the expenses you endure when he was a kid. Read his book. He comes from humble beginnings.

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