1. Is Phil Mickelson One of the Top 10 Golfers of All-Time?
When I think of ranking the greats of any sport, I recall Bill James' use of "peak value" and "career value" in his baseball rankings. Peak value means a player's value in his best season, and in his best stretch of several seasons. Career value is, obviously, how well a player did over the long-term, how consistently good he was, how cumulatively great his numbers are.
Mickelson has never had that one monster season in which he dominated golf. In terms of peak value, Mickelson doesn't rank that high.
But career value is another story. It's funny, within any given season, Mickelson usually isn't all that consistent. He's hit and miss from week to week. But over the course of many seasons, he's very consistent: He just keeps winning. Mickelson first won on the PGA in 1991, as an amateur. Since 1993, he's won at least once every year except two. He's won as many as four tournaments in three different seasons, three in two years, and two in nine other seasons.
Mickelson has never won a money title, but he's finished lower than 14th only once since 1996, inside the Top 10 14 times, third four times and second five times.
In career value, and taking into account his era and the depth in golf today, Mickelson ranks very high.
So when I combine peak and career values for Mickelson, my own personal ranking of the greatest golfers ever winds up with Mickelson at No. 10. My answer to the question of the headline - is Mickelson one of the 10 best of all-time? - is yes. He's No. 10.
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