Before 17-year old Australian Ryan Ruffels hits his first professional tee shot Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open, 45-year old Phil Mickelson already has given him some strong advice.
Be careful what you say, especially if it involves a money match against a Hall of Famer.
Mickelson and Ruffels played 18 holes at Torrey Pines last month, with Mickelson’s brother Tim, the Arizona State golf coach, who was interested in recruiting Ruffels before the teenager decided to turn pro.
Afterward, Ruffels told The Sydney Morning Herald that he had won $5,000 off Mickelson, quoting Ruffels saying, “I took his money so that was pretty cool.” According to the story had Mickelson won the bet, Ruffels would owe him $2,500 when he turned pro.
Ruffels quickly backed off the story saying in an Instagram post saying, “the wager amount has also been exaggerated way out of proportion.”
After his pro-am round Wednesday, Mickelson didn’t hold back when asked about Ruffels.
“Well, that’s an interesting one,” Mickelson said. “He’s a very nice person. I met him a month ago, and we played for the first time. He, he’s young, and he’s got some things to learn.
“One of them is you don’t discuss certain things. You don’t discuss specifics of what you play for. And you certainly don’t embellish and create a false amount just for your own benefit.
“That’s high school stuff, and he’s going to have to stop doing that now that he’s out on the PGA Tour.”