Sporting Pink Ribbon, Phil Mickelson Wins Masters

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Phil Mickelson, affectionately known to golf enthusiasts as “Lefty”, won the 2010 Masters Golf Tournament today. On his hat, he proudly sported a pink ribbon in honor of both his wife and mother who are battling breast cancer.

Phil’s wife Amy, a former Phoenix Suns cheerleader, was diagnosed with breast cancer in May of 2009. Phil suspended his PGA golf career for three months to be with her and their three children during the treatments. Just six weeks later, Phil’s mom Mary received the same diagnosis.

Both ladies had surgery at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas and are treated by oncologist Dr. Tom Buchholz, who has caddied for Mickelson in the past. Amy has had a particularly difficult time with post-op treatment, according to an interview that Phil gave after his first win after the diagnosis. “We’re in good shape. Although day-to-day is tough, and the meds are tough, and it’s not easy for them, we’re fortunate that our long-term outlook looks good.”

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"I've got a lot of people that I'm appreciative of," he continued, "and not just the guys who've helped me with my golf swing, but the doctors that have spent their lives doing their work and specializing in their field to save so many people's lives, my wife and mom included, and all the clinical trials that women have been a part of to be able to get the kind of information we have now. “

The Mickelson’s have operated a foundation called “The Phil and Amy Mickelson Foundation” since 2004 with a focus on supporting a variety of youth and family initiative. “Family is our own number-one priority,” said Phil on his website. “Both Amy and I benefitted by being raised in our own strong, loving families, and now we’re fortunate and thankful to be in a position to help others strengthen their own family bonds.”

One of the Foundation’s efforts is called Start Smart, established in 2005 to help improve self-esteem in San Diego County’s fourth-graders with the help of the San Diego County Office of Education and area elementary school principals and teachers. More than 5000 students from more than 90 elementary schools have been involved with the program. Start Smart students are eager to go to school, resulting in better attendance and achievement.

The Foundation also partners with ExxonMobil to create the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, an intense five-day curriculum that gives teachers innovative ideas and tools to help motivate students, particularly in the areas of math and science. Teachers can be nominated to attend the Academy through the website www.sendmyteacher.com.

Amy and their children were on the 18th green waiting for Phil as he finished his round on Sunday. Many tears of joy were shed and Mickelson said (of the win): “It takes a lot of the heartache away. It’s fun just being together and so it’s been a fun week.”

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