Phil Mickelson, the PGA Tour star and former NCAA champion, has joined the coaching staff at Arizona State, Golfweek reported. Mickelson has been named an interim assistant coach for the Sun Devils, a position that opened in September when assistant coach Joe Prince left the program.
The connection is Mickelson’s younger brother Tim, currently in his fourth season as Arizona State head coach. Arizona State is ranked No. 29 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings after closing the fall season with three consecutive runner-up finishes.
Phil Mickelson’s role as assistant is not expected to be long term, according to a Golfweek source. Arizona State officials hope to make a full-time hire later this spring or during the summer. Mickelson, meanwhile, will still compete on Tour.
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The appointment will place the older Mickelson on the coaching staff and allow him to operate under the same rules as a staff member or a coach — they are different rules than those of an alumni. It allows Phil Mickelson to be more involved with the program in areas of recruiting, and even allows him to be with the team on a daily basis. Don’t expect to see Mickelson driving the cart and handing out snacks, but this does allow him to be involved in the same way any coach can — including making phone calls to recruits. The extent of Mickelson’s coaching responsibilities are uncertain.
Mickelson has, however, begun work in his new role. The Sydney Morning Herald reported Nov. 6 that top Australian junior Ryan Ruffels recently received a phone call from Mickelson. According to Ruffels, 16, Mickelson called to lure him to Arizona State.
"I thought one of my mates from school was giving me a prank call," Ruffels told the Herald. "We chatted for an hour and I’m just starting to get some exposure to those big players and it’s great."
The call raised eyebrows, but Mickelson’s new role with Arizona State makes such actions permissible.
Mickelson competed for Arizona State from 1988-92, winning three NCAA individual titles and 16 tournaments in all. The Sun Devils won the NCAA team title in 1990.