(Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)

Mickelson discusses Bobby Jones' Calamity Jane

(Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)

Famously, they stood side-by-side, their generation’s two biggest golf stars holding massive prizes. Phil Mickelson, winner of the season-ending TOUR Championship, held a crystal trophy, while on the right, Tiger Woods embraced a large silver bowl to commemorate his FedExCup championship.

Ah, yes. Tiger and Phil or Phil and Tiger. Either way, their names were 1-2 in the final standings for the ninth time since 1996 when Woods joined Mickelson on the PGA TOUR. And on this September Sunday in 2009, both wore smiles.

“I like the way today went,” said Mickelson of his final-round 64 that staggered Kenny Perry and Woods. Four behind the leader, Perry, and two behind Woods to start the final round, Mickelson was utterly brilliant in his rally and emphatically laid down his winning hand.

“I was two back of (Woods) and beat him by three.”

The lefthander didn’t even mind the disparity in the prizes. “He gets the $10 million check (as FedExCup champ) and I get $1.35 million (as TOUR Championship winner). I’ve got no problem with that. I just love holding this (TOUR Championship trophy).”

At the World Golf Championship-Bridgestone Invitational, Mickelson was reminded of his ’09 TOUR Championship win and asked about the second trophy he received that day, a replica of the Calamity Jane putter. (Starting this year, the winner will receive just one trophy, the Calamity Jane replica.)

Mickelson seemed not to remember. But neither did he mind. Because why? Well, because Phil being Phil, he said he already had his own replicas of the Calamity Jane. In fact, he nearly won a U.S. Open playing with it.

It was 1999 at Pinehurst No. 2, an unforgettable national championship that saw Payne Stewart edge Mickelson by one with Woods third. Each man felt he should have won. Only Stewart did. What is remembered is that Mickelson carried a pager with him that week, in case his wife, Amy, went into labor with their first child. Not as memorable is the putter he carried, but it turns out that it was one of the many equipment ideas that he acted upon.

“I had Scotty (Cameron) make me a putter. I just liked the way the blade felt,” said Mickelson.

Wading through transcripts from Pinehurst 18 years ago, it turns out that Mickelson did divulge details of the putter that helped get him into the mix. “The putter, I’ve had since just prior to the Masters,” Lefty explained. “I used it (at Augusta National, where he finished T-6). It’s a Scotty Cameron that he designed after older-style putters . . . (like) the Calamity Jane.”

What Mickelson said he liked about the putter was the 7-degrees of loft, which is what he preferred in his putters back then.

At the Bridgestone, Mickelson handled another replica of the Calamity Jane, then rolled a few putts with it. He did it righthanded – Phil being Phil, after all – and nodded his approval. Nice club. He’s glad to have the one he earned in 2009, but even happier to have the one he played with in 1999. Being a man well ahead of the curve, of course.