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The Fight of Their Lives
June 01, 2009
Lefty puts his career on hold as his wife battles cancer
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June 01, 2009

The Fight Of Their Lives

Lefty puts his career on hold as his wife battles cancer

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John Daly doesn't seem the type to wear pink. But on Sunday at the BMW PGA Championship in Virginia Water, England, the man who is inextricably linked with beer, cigarettes and serial Hooters patronage played his final round in a pair of decidedly unmacho bright pink pants. The trousers were a show of support for Amy Mickelson, the wife of Phil, who was diagnosed last week with breast cancer. "I had [the pants], so I figured I'd do that for her," said Daly. Phil—who memorably carried a pager with him during the final round of the 1999 U.S. Open and swore he'd leave Pinehurst if Amy, who was due to give birth at any moment, beeped him—announced that he was putting his career on indefinite hold. He could miss the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black later this month, which would mean no Tiger-Phil showdown for the third time in the last four majors.

But the prospect of a few weakened fields wasn't the main concern of anyone on the Tour. Mickelson can be aloof around other golfers—a 2007 SI poll of pros named him the second-least-desirable playing partner—but the 37-year-old Amy is likely the most popular wife in the sport. "She has always been a sweetheart to everybody," Daly said. A former Phoenix Suns cheerleader, she works tirelessly on behalf of the Mickelsons' philanthropic endeavors (her passion is improving science education) and is known for doling out advice to new Tour wives and for her interaction with fans. She's also tough. In '03 Amy suffered a ruptured artery while giving birth to the Mickelsons' third child, Evan. She nearly bled to death but pulled through.

A statement from Phil Mickelson's management company said that Amy would begin treatment within two weeks with an unspecified major surgery. "Amy is just one of those people who simply wants to help other people," said Jack Nicklaus's wife, Barbara. "Now we need to help her."

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