Phil Mickelson has taken his Claret Jug everywhere with him, going to bed with golf's oldest trophy on his nightstand since returning from Scotland three weeks ago. He reiterated on Tuesday that he wakes up every morning and looks at it just to make sure the events in Muirfield weren't some dream -- a mistake he made earlier this summer when he woke up thinking he'd won the U.S. Open at Merion.
Unlike many of the other tournaments, the British Open winner gets to take the actual trophy, not a replica, for the entire year. The jug is the game's most famous hardware, but it's much smaller than most and pales in comparison to the monstrosity handed out this weekend, the Wanamaker Trophy. It's so small that Phil has his caddie, Jim Mackay, carrying it around in a backpack this week at Oak Hill -- comically casual for such a historic and valuable item. Here's Bones just heading off to class:
While the jug and his caddie were on the grounds for a portion of the day, Phil only stopped in for eight minutes to officially register. Mickelson's typical routine the day before a major is to not play or practice on the course, instead staying far away and either relaxing or playing another local track (Cypress when a major is at Pebble, or Columbia when it's at Congressional, etc). With no plans to spend much time at Oak Hill, Phil decided to roll up in attire that would probably get any commoner turned away. Golf Channel caught Mickelson just walking through the crowd in his T-shirt, shorts and flip flops.
We've already seen Phil take this casual approach at Callaway HQ, but walking around looking like a frat brother in the crowd the day before a major championship and having your cherished trophy getting schlepped around in a backpack is a decidedly different approach than say, Tiger Woods, might take. Woods has spent his time simply trying to avoid being trampled by rabid autograph seekers.