MEXICO CITY, Mexico – Tim Mickelson was having breakfast Friday morning when his telephone rang.
It was his brother, Phil, asking him to be on call. Mickelson’s caddie of 25 years, Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay wasn’t feeling well and Phil might need a relief caddie.
Tim Mickelson is Jon Rahm’s manager which explains why he was in Mexico City to begin with and his calendar was clear for most of Friday so he was good to go.
It was apparent early that Mackay was struggling. Steve Loy, Phil’s long-time agent and briefly his caddie years ago, was scrambling to have someone ready.
“If (Tim) didn’t do it, this old man had to do it,” Loy said pointing at himself.
Mackay made it three holes – they were downhill – and had to surrender. Tim Mickelson grabbed the bag going to the green on the par-3 13th green (Phil’s fourth hole) and away they went.
Phil wound up shooting 68 with his brother on the bag, vaulting him into the top five as a cheerful gallery followed him around Club de Golf Chapultepec.
“It was fun,” Tim Mickelson said. “Trust me, I don’t want Bones’ job.”
That was fun! But why did every hole feel straight uphill?
— Tim Mickelson (@goodwalkspoiled) March 3, 2017
If it was going to happen someplace – it was the first PGA Tour round since 1999 that Mackay was not on Mickelson’s bag – this was a good spot, Phil said. He wasn’t asking Mackay to help read greens this week and he’s picking his own clubs because of the massive effect of the 7,500-foot elevation.
Tim Mickelson, the long-time men’s golf coach at Arizona State, has been around top-level golf long enough to feel comfortable but his main goal Friday, he said, was to stay out of the way.
He didn’t offer his brother any advice and he wasn’t asked for any.
“He’s never listened to me on the course or off the course so nothing is going to change,” Tim said.
While calling ‘Bones’ “irreplaceable,” Phil Mickelson liked having his brother with him Friday.
“I had a lot of fun with my brother,” Phil said. “He’s so much fun to be around. He did a great job. He’s a good player in his own right. He’s a scratch player. He came out and did a phenomenal job.”
The expectation is Mackay will be back at work for the third round Saturday and Tim Mickelson will step back outside the gallery ropes.
Does he expect to get paid by his brother?
“No. Maybe I’ll get dinner tonight,” Tim Mickelson said. “That’s all I want … a nice little dinner and a glass of wine and we’ll call it a day.”