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Jocks to GIs: Phil Mickelson

5/8/2003

From: Phil Mickelson

Sent: Tuesday, May 6, 2003 11:13 AM
To: Michael Johnston
Subject: getting back

Mike,

Thanks for your encouragement a couple of Saturdays ago. Unfortunately there were a few more "speed bumps" I couldn't negotiate later on. I would have written sooner but I don't take my computer on the road with me. It's neat you got a chance to carry for Ben Crane. I haven't played with him yet but I probably will now that he's in the winner's pairing category after Atlanta.


Got back home late Sunday night after two pretty uneventful weeks on tour. I can't say much for my play but I did take in Game 6 in New Orleans against Philly. The Hornets lost, which had the town a little down. I managed to get over it with a dozen or so incredible oysters at Drago's, which I highly recommend. There wasn't much relief from the sweltering heat on the course, though.


Saw a good movie you may want to consider: Old School.


It's good to be back home this week. I'm looking forward to taking my wife and the girls on separate dates and spending some hang time with Evan.


With all that, I've got a cover shoot for Golf Digest lined up for Friday morning. I'm not sure when it'll run, sometime later this year, probably end of summer, early fall. I'll talk with the writer ahead of time so they get the shots they want conceptualized. When I show up they have two or three stations set up. I hit certain shots here, move to the next area for different shots, move to the next for another set. Then there's a video crew that wants to talk about my involvement with Golf Digest. That tape will be used when advertising sales people go to woo their customers. Should take about four hours. We're doing it at The Bridges, a course near my home. It's where Sergio Garcia and I play Tiger and Ernie Els in a made-for-TV deal July 28.


Next Tuesday I head to Dallas for the Byron Nelson tournament. Mr. Nelson is a legend for his play but I'll always remember him as a model gentleman. No matter how hot it gets he's out there all day greeting every player who comes to the first tee. We all get a letter from him in our lockers thanking us for participating and helping raise charity money. If there are many other people who rank with Mr. Nelson in the class department I haven't found them yet.


The week after that I'm playing at the Colonial. It'll be interesting to see how Annika Sorenstam does there. I think she'll be OK. The course usually plays hard and fast, which will help her length. It's an iron and wedge for me on most holes, but if she hits her driver as straight as usual it'll probably be a driver and mid-iron for her on a lot of them. It may come down to chipping and putting for her but I still think she'll be all right.


Good talking with you again, Mike. I hope all's well with you and your family.


Phil


From: Michael Johnston

Sent: Saturday, April 26, 2003 11:18 PM
To: Phil Mickelson
Subject: checking in

Dear Phil,

Nice round today, you fought back after that speed bump on # 1, and made the best of it. I have been fortunate to have caddied before so I know what it is like to be in a hole and watch a player pullout and make a good round. With your ability I know you are still in position to win.


I was able to caddie for Ben Crane when he came to Prattville for the Buy.com in a practice round just before he came to the big show, so I was able to learn a lot about caddying from him and his regular caddie. I'll be watching and pulling for you tomorrow. Good Luck, and I hope to hear from you soon. I had a great day because I was able to welcome about 200+ friends home from the war, it feels good to see the rest of the guys and gals come home. Hopefully the rest of my unit will be home in the coming days.


Talk to you soon,


Mike


From: Michael Johnston

Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2003 7:45 PM
To: Phil Mickelson
Subject: Good news

Dear Phil,

I AM HOME !!! I can't believe it. I cannot even begin to tell you the emotions I have felt the last couple of days. It has been incredible. I went with my wife and picked up my children at their daycare, it was great, I can only remember being happier when they were born. The local news station was there and ran my homecoming on the news that evening. It has been great catching up with my family, it has also been difficult adapting to normal life again. So many things I took for granted have become so real to me now. I went to church Sunday, and when I walked in the auditorium the Minister stopped his announcements and welcomed me home, then everyone there (about 1,000) stood and clapped for me. I broke down right there. It feels so great to have people behind you, I have heard other members of my family tell stories of homecomings of war in the past that weren't to grand, to say the least. I'll save more for later.


Congratulations to you and Amy, one more and ya'll will catch up with my wife and I (ha-ha). I am glad to hear Mom and baby are doing better now, I know how scary it is to have a sick newborn, by the way are you calling him Evan or Samuel? I wish you the best of luck this week, and plan on watching every minute, so remember I am pulling for ya!


I can't remember if I told you or not but, I have a couple of things to give you. I had an American Flag and a Squadron coin flown for you. I hope I can meet with you in the future and present these to you.


I will go for now, I know your busy this week, so write when you can.


Hit'em Straight!!!


Mike


From: Phil Mickelson

Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2003 12:53 AM
To: Michael Johnston
Subject: Checking In

Dear Mike,

I got your letter and I want you to know that everyone in my family and everyone out on Tour has been watching what's going on in the Middle East intently and our thoughts and prayers have been with you.


Meanwhile, back in the States, this has been a very exciting and hectic month for our family. As you may or may not know we delivered our third child, Evan Samuel, 7 pounds, nine ounces, on March 23. Unfortunately we experienced some complications during the pregnancy that kept the baby in intensive care for four days as well as Amy but they came out OK and everyone is fine.


I guess you saw the outcome at Augusta, or heard about it. It was a very long and emotional week. I played very well but came up two shots shy of a playoff. This past week has been a wonderful week off. I've had a chance to take both my daughters on a date and spend time with my son.


I arrived tonight in Houston to play the Houston Open. It's a new course this year and it's listed at over 7,500 yards. That much sounds good to me although I won't actually really know much about it until I see it tomorrow. I'll try to correspond this week and keep you updated on what's going on in the tournament and some of the things we hope to do outside of the tournament (hopefully going to an Astros game).


I see where you're coming home. Congratulations. That's something we've all been praying for and I'm happy to hear you'll be reunited with your family again. It shouldn't take crises like the war or what happened during our delivery for us to realize how important family is but those things sure hammer home the point, don't they?


I want to thank you and every soldier who fought for our country in making the world a safer place to live in.


Sincerely,


Phil


P.S. I bet you're happy to trading a bombing range for a driving range.


From: Michael Johnston

Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2003 7:47 PM
To: Phil Mickelson
Subject: Hello

Phil,

First let me say Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to do this. My name is Michael Johnston, I am a Staff Sergeant with the 187th Fighter Wing, based out of Montgomery, AL. I was Activated in early February and sent to the Middle East to a classified location. I am a Weapons Crew Chief on the F-16C, in other words I am a bomb loader. I am married and have 4 children, 3 girls and 1 boy.


I was extremely excited to hear that I would be able to email back and forth with you. Your sense of family values is one that should be a model to all. This is the biggest reason I was hoping to be able to write to you. I think we have a lot in common (other than golf handicaps) and I look forward to sharing with you.


When I heard that I would be corresponding with you I had an American Flag flown in you and your families honor. I will sign off for now.


By the way I only saw a little of the Masters, but I thought your play was great. Tiger who? ha-ha,


Best Regards,


Mike