Phil Mickelson's wife, Amy, has been diagnosed with breastcancer, and the three-time major champion said Wednesday he willsuspend his PGA Tour schedule indefinitely.
According to a release from Mickelson's management company, hiswife was to have more tests but begin treatment with major surgeryas early as the next two weeks.
Mickelson, the No. 2 player in the world with 36 career PGA Tourvictories, was to play the Byron Nelson Championship this weekbefore defending his title next week at Colonial. It was notcertain if he would return in time for the U.S. Open on June 18-21at Bethpage Black, where he was the runner-up to Tiger Woods in2002 and is beloved by golf fans in the New York area.
"Elin and I are deeply saddened to hear the news about Amy,"Woods said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with her, Phil, thechildren and the entire Mickelson family."
Amy Mickelson is among the most visible wives on the PGA Tour, aformer Phoenix Suns cheerleader who regularly walks during therounds and mingles easily with the gallery. She was waiting withtheir three children by the 18th green at Augusta National in 2004when Mickelson won his first major, and at Winged Foot in 2006 atthe U.S. Open, his most crushing loss in a major.
One of the photos in the clubhouse at the Byron NelsonChampionship is Mickelson walking with Amy when they were engagedin 1996 and Mickelson won the tournament.
Scott Verplank, who played on two Ryder Cup teams and twoPresidents Cup teams with Mickelson, said Lefty sent him a textTuesday night. "I had a hard time sleeping," Verplank said.
"Every time I've been around her, she's always had a smile onher face. She's always upbeat," Verplank said. "She's a neatgirl. Hopefully, it's early and hopefully, they take care of it. Ijust sent Phil a text back. I didn't call him or anything. He'llcall me if he needs anything."
Mickelson met his wife in 1992 when he was a senior at ArizonaState, a year after he won his first PGA Tour event as an amateur.
Amy knew nothing about golf at the time.
"I grew up in a tennis family, and when he told me he was a progolfer, I thought he worked in the shop at a golf course," shewrote in Mickelson's book, "One Magical Sunday," after he won hisfirst major at the 2004 Masters.
The first time she accompanied him to a golf tournament, the BobHope Classic, she figured they would walk hand-in-hand down thefairway and was angry at him for not spending enough time with her.But once she learned the difference between birdies and bogeys, shehas been at his side during the highs and low.
They were married in 1996 and have three children: Amanda, 9,Sophia, 7, and Evan, 6. Their first child was born the day afterthe 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2., where Mickelson carried apager and promised to leave if his wife went into labor.
Contractions began on Sunday, but she decided not to tellMickelson as he tried to win his first major. He lost by one strokewhen Payne Stewart holed a 15-foot par putt on the final hole, andMickelson arrived home in time for the birth.
Sarah Strange, a breast cancer survivor and wife of former RyderCup captain Curtis Strange, said Amy Mickelson's outgoingpersonality would play a big part in her recovery.
"She's such an upbeat person, and I think she'll approach thisin the same way, moving forward with confidence," Sarah Strangesaid. "I'm sure she's getting the best treatment they can find. Anupbeat attitude plays such a key role in this, her own and thosearound her. I'll certainly be extending any experiences I've had,any questions she could ask me to keep upbeat.
"She was so supportive of me being a captain's wife," shesaid. "In return, she will feel that support from others."
How much golf Mickelson misses this summer is uncertain, but itcomes at a time when Woods, his chief rival, returned from eightmonths away with knee surgery. They played together in the finalround of the Masters and practically stole the show with anexciting charge up the leaderboard. Mickelson finished one shotahead of Woods, but three shots out of the playoff won by AngelCabrera.
"We are saddened by the news of Amy Mickelson's diagnosis, butare hopeful that with the support of Phil and her family andfriends, she will come through this difficult time," PGA Tourcommissioner Tim Finchem said. "The thoughts and prayers ofeveryone connected with the PGA Tour are with the Mickelsonfamily."
The news was quick to reach Europe, where John Daly is playingin the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
"That is so sad," Daly said. "She's a great girl. My prayersare out to her and Phil. Hopefully, everything goes well."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times