By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – As a card-carrying sports-obsessed Bostonian, I’ve made my share of skeptical comments over the years about prominent athletes, the choices they make and the role models they are – or aren’t.

So I’m glad to be able to talk about a genuinely smart decision made by golfer Phil Mickelson.

He’s been one of the biggest names in golf for decades, and the only major tournament he’s never won, the US Open, is coming up later this month. But it turns out the tournament will conflict with his daughter’s high school graduation ceremony, where she is speaking.

And so Mickelson is withdrawing from the Open.

“This is one of those moments where you look back on life and you just don’t want to miss it,” he says. “I’ll be really glad that I was there and present.”

Exactly right, as is Mickelson’s comment that “it really wasn’t much of a decision.”

The daughter apparently told Mickelson she understood how much the tournament meant to him, and it was OK if he didn’t make it, but he knew that wasn’t true. And the truth is, years from now when his daughter is telling stories about grandpa to her kids, no one will remember that Phil didn’t play, but she will remember that he valued her above all else.

And which would you rather have – another shiny trophy on a shelf already full of them?

Or the memory of being part of your child’s proudest moment?

The late Speaker Tip O’Neill told an interviewer late in life he couldn’t remember a single White House dinner or budget meeting on Capitol Hill, but he did recall – painfully – every time he had missed a family milestone.

Phil Mickelson won’t suffer that pain.

Smart move.


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