The big news in sports over the weekend was the tragic loss of the women’s US soccer team to Japan in the World Cup. The ladies fought valiantly but alas there can be only one victor. Soccer took most of the headlines away from golf, which has struggled for a while now in the fallout of Tiger Woods.

No single person stood to benefit from the fall of Woods more so than Phil Mickelson. Phil is a great golfer but was always one step behind Tiger. One would think that without Tiger in the way Phil would dominate the sport. But alas, Mickelson has never had the #1 spot in golf rankings, and like the results over the weekend’s recent tournament, was stuck just behind the winner. This makes him the perfect person to teach us about the Joneses.

You remember the Joneses of course. Back in 2005 we were all trying to keep up with them. We ran up credit cards, borrowed equity out of our homes, and over all just spent and spent ourselves into a recession. And even though the Joneses suffered too, we suffered worse. Despite all of that, a few years later, we’re back in the malls shopping for luxury goods and faking it until we make it again.

But there’s always someone ahead of you. Like Mickelson always has to deal with someone better than him. The trick is to not try to be the best, but be the best you can be and find some contentment in your life. He may not be the best golfer, but he’s near the top, loaded, and probably a good husband and father to boot which says something more than the prior king of the golf world. I doubt Phil minds one damned bit. He had some smiles on Sunday, and seemed to be really enjoying what has been an incredible career in golf. A career that has many more years in it.

Phil Mickelson is not trying to keep up with the Joneses, he’s being a Mickelson and knows that there may always be someone ahead of him this week. But in the long run everyone’s going to be trying to keep up with Mickelson, because he can sustain a long run occasionally winning. That’s worth following.

Congrats Phil, and great name by the way.

Photo: Ed (supergolfdude)

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