‘I have hated him’: Pro shares one of the best Phil Mickelson stories
7:30 a.m., Thursday. Game 6. Phil Mickelson, Lucas Herbert, Kurt Kitayama.
12:30 p.m., Friday Game 32. Phil Mickelson, Lucas Herbert, Kurt Kitayama.
Lucas Herbert had to have laughed when he saw the tee times for the first two rounds of this year’s Open Championship. He was being grouped with the man he had hated for over a decade. And it wasn’t Kurt Kitayama.
Phil Mickelson, you may have seen, heard or read, has been in your news of late, though this story has nothing to do with the golf topic du jour. No, this is a story of a hat and a handwave. And redemption inside the scorer’s tent at St. Andrews. Herbert shared it Thursday via his Instagram stories, which you can watch below, and we’ll offer some narration.
“Hey, Instagram, just shot two-under in the morning in the first round of the Open,” Herbert began. “Thank you for all the messages and what-not. Thought I would share a funny story for you all. So played with Phil today. Had an enjoyable day watching him play. And have a little backstory with Phil. So 2011 Presidents Cup, it’s Royal Melbourne, I’m 15 years old. I lied about my age to get into the volunteer network and become a standard bearer for the week carrying around the little scoreboards that update the gallery of what the group scores are on throughout the day. … Really enjoyed it.”
He’s right on just about everything there. Herbert shot a 70. The 2011 Presidents Cup was played at Royal Melbourne in Australia. Though we’re not sure about the Aussie fudging his way into the event, but sometimes you got to do what you got to do to see the world’s best. Let’s let him continue.
“Didn’t carry a board for Phil. But on the final day of play, I was hanging about, trying to get autographs, just wanting to be amongst it; thought it was the coolest thing ever. So hanging about the U.S. boys and everyone was signing this hat that I had. And I was passing it around to everyone, and everyone was great; everyone signed it. I asked Phil for an autograph, and he was the only one to deny me of this autograph.”
That meant Herbert had collected signatures on his white Titleist hat from Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Steve Stricker, Webb Simpson, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, David Toms, Bill Haas, Hunter Mahan and Nick Watney. But no Lefty.
“So I reminded Phil of this today,” Herbert said. “On the 15th tee, I reminded him that I hate him and have hated him for 11 years as a result of him not signing the autograph for me. And he was very apologetic and he played along and it was pretty funny.
“I even have this on video, and I will upload the video for you and we’ll have a look as the next story.”
Oh, to have heard that conversation on the par-4 on Thursday. But we are able to watch the 2011 rejection. Yes, Herbert had saved a clip of the NBC broadcast of the event, and he shared it.
“Now you might not have seen it because it is in the background, but I will go through it again and show you the detailed analysis, the action replay of this snub of an autograph,” Herbert said. “So as we look here on the action replay, we’ve got the shot coming in. There’s Herbie on the left there, Titleist cap; sorry, hadn’t seen the light yet, TaylorMade. But Herbie on the left, standard bearer, moving across at Phil, who’s hidden behind the other standard bearer volunteer. Now Phil comes into frame here. You see: ‘Hey, Phil, can I get an autograph?’
“And you see the shake of the head, ‘No, absolutely not,’ and the signature hand gesture up there later on. ‘I’m with Amy. Go away.’”
Ouch. As the Americans began celebrating their victory, Herbert, with his hat in his right hand and his scoreboard in his left, took his shot. Mickelson looked over, shook his head and waved him off with his left hand. Amy Mickelson, his wife, pointed at Herbert.
Which brings us back to Thursday. And a moment after the round.
“So I felt like I had a laugh about this with Phil today,” Herbert said. “He’s American so maybe he didn’t get my sarcasm and was pretty dry, but I thought I had about this. And we finished the round; Phil shot level, I shot two-under, like I said, and we went into the scorer’s hut, and Phil called Tim over for a Sharpie and grabbed a glove out. And he passed me this glove: ‘Lucas, 11 years late.’
“So I’m going to frame this glove. And this is one of my prized possessions now. That was a pretty funny story from today. If you stayed this long, congratulations and I hope you enjoyed the story. And look forward to seeing you all out there again tomorrow.”
Yep, that was a pretty funny story.