Golf Digest has this interesting story on the tipping habits of Golfer Phil Mickelson. Considering how many people in the hospitality industry are not protected by a minimum wage law his appreciation is well, appreciated.
Phil Mickelson’s ball started left and kept fading. Left of Winged Foot’s 72nd-hole fairway; left of the rough, the crowd, the trees lining the fairway, and into a hospitality tent stationed on the neighboring hole. After four more shots, Phil held his head in his hands before making a meaningless putt.
“I just can’t believe I did that,” he said afterward. “I am such an idiot.”
The worst collapse of Mickelson’s career was complete. He had lost the 2006 U.S. Open by one shot with a double bogey on the final hole.
But that’s not where the story ends. After making the obligatory media stops and signing autographs, Phil sought out Winged Foot’s staff members. He thanked them for their work, shook their hands, and discreetly handed each a wad of cash: $1,000 here, $1,500 there. Phil had spent a lot of time preparing at Winged Foot before that year’s Open, so he wanted to thank everyone.
It’s reasonable to estimate that Mickelson handed about $10,000 in tips to staff throughout the week, according to people who were there. But as he was driving away, Phil felt compelled to turn the car around. In the craziness after his collapse, he realized he had forgotten to tip a handful of the locker-room guys, and he didn’t want to leave without taking care of everyone.
“Phil is one of the most generous men I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing,” says Doug Steffen, the director of golf at Baltusrol Golf Club, where the year before Winged Foot, Mickelson had claimed his second major championship. “The way he takes the time to meet all the staff and thank them for their work, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Everyone has a Mickelson tipping story. ESPN’s Rick Reilly says his favorite happened in the Augusta National parking lot the Sunday night of Phil’s first Masters victory, in 2004. “There were three emotional club employees giving him long bear hugs,” Reilly wrote. “Turns out they were the lower-locker-room guys who were losing Mickelson and his fat $1,000 tips to the Champions Locker Room guys upstairs. They were nearly weeping.”