Saturday, October 02, 2010


So what does FIGJAM mean? From GQ's 10 most hated athletes:

Phil Mickelson

Last August at the PGA Championship at Baltusrol, in New Jersey, a reporter turned to a golfer on the tour and said of Phil Mickelson, “Man, the fans here love Phil.” The golfer replied, “They don’t know him the way we do.” It blew our minds a little when we heard this, since Mickelson ranks among the most admired golfers in America. But today the same reporter makes his case bluntly: “Phil Mickelson literally has no friends out there. He annoys everybody.”

Mickelson has earned many nicknames on the Tour, but our favorite is FIGJAM (F---, I’m good—just ask me). “There are a bunch of pros who think he and his whole smiley, happy face are a fraud,” another reporter says. “They think he’s preening and insincere.” Mickelson has aggressively pursued a family-man image that is crucial to his success as an endorser. In 1999, when he nearly won the U.S. Open, Mickelson wore a beeper onto the fairway to alert him when his wife went into labor. If the beeper went off during the final round, he announced, he would simply walk off the course. Some of Mickelson’s peers, smelling a PR stunt, badly wanted to call his bluff. “Everybody’s saying, ‘Oh God, I want that beeper to go off,’ ” recalls one writer. (It didn’t.)

In 2003, Mickelson violated multiple taboos when he told a reporter that Tiger Woods was playing with “inferior equipment” and that he envied Mickelson’s longer drives from the tee. Woods was infuriated. “You just don’t say s--- like that in golf,” says a reporter. (To be fair, another reporter says, “Phil was right.”)

Shortly before the 2004 Ryder Cup, though, Mickelson abruptly switched from Titleist to Callaway equipment. He left himself little time to get used to the new balls and clubs. “It wasn’t in the best interest of the team,” says a reporter. “The only thing that it was in the best interest of was his financial gain.” The contract paid a reported $7 million to $10 million annually. “What it did was set up a bull’s-eye on him if he played poorly,” says a different reporter. “Which he did.”

Most recently, Mickelson blew off the 2005 Tour Championship, though the PGA was in the midst of negotiating its new TV contract. One reporter says, “The Tour was trying to come up with a plan that would make the networks happy, so it wouldn’t have to give back a lot of money, and here’s the number three player in the world skipping the premier season-ending event. Other players said, ‘How about helping the rest of us who aren’t as rich?’ ” Adds another reporter: “It’s like not showing up for somebody’s wedding.”

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Eric said...

Andy Roddick used to wear (don't know if he still does) a Reebok shoe called the FIGJAM. I always thought it was funny that it was a hot seller but most people didn't know what it stood for.

rncantu said...

I hate this article. Phil signs a ton of autographs and engages the fans. He shot 59 a few weeks after switching to Calloway in the Grandslam of golf. I think Tiger tearing up his swing before the '97 Ryder Cup is worse than switching equipment.

He played poorly at the '04 Ryder Cup but we lost by 9 points so it wasn't just him.

Tiger skipped the 2006 Tour Championship but that's because it was still in early November. You won't see players skip it now that it's in September.

And the tv contract in 2005 has nothing to do with Phil. It's all Tiger. He's the only one who impacts tv contracts.