Score Two for Phil Mickelson

When Phil Mickelson won the Masters last weekend, his wife Amy was at the 18th hole waiting to share the moment. When Mickelson came off the green, there was Amy, wearing, in the words of one commentator, “a smile bigger than her sunglasses.” They hugged, both of them in tears, for a very long time.

Phil and Amy Mickelson

Ahhh … the thrill of victory. Yes, victory is thrilling, but there’s a story behind this story that transcends sports. Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, and for eleven months has been undergoing chemo and radiation. She has not travelled at all during that time, but mustered her strength to see his final strokes that day. “I want to recognize my family,”’ Mickelson said, choking up during the victory ceremony. “My wife has been through a lot this year, and it means so much to us to share some joy together. She’s an incredible wife and an incredible mother, and she has been an inspiration for me this past year in seeing what she went through. I’m so happy that she and our three kids are here. It was such an emotional week, and I’m having a hard time putting it into words.”

There was another media sensation at the Masters. Tiger Woods returned to professional golf after having taken several months off in the wake of publicity concerning his serial adulterous affairs. His estranged wife, Elin, and the couple’s two children did not attend the Masters this year.

On display that last day were two very different approaches to love, sex, and marriage. One takes an anything-goes approach. This  is the view we see in pop culture, for example in Glee and The Big Bang Theory. Sex is what it’s all about, and if it feels good, do it.

The other views sex as a part of marriage and marriage as a solemn commitment. Sex is good, but it also serves a higher purpose – that of bonding a couple together and preserving the integrity of the family for the resulting children.

What was really on display at the 18th hole was the inevitable outcome of each. The Woods family, except for Tiger, was absent and their future remains uncertain. Ironically, the Anything-Goes approach to sex inevitably leads to broken relationships and fractured families. Just look at Tiger.

The Mickelson family has endured pain and difficulty too, and their future is also uncertain, but in an entirely different way. They remain an integral unit, and at the Masters, they shared their joys and sorrows as one family.

One commentator noted, “Finally, we have some justice in the world. The right man won.” I say he’d already won before setting foot on the course.

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