By Aaron Nolan
White Sulphur Springs, WV
Wednesdays are pro-am day on the PGA Tour and they certainly have a different feel from the rest of a tournament week, during a pro-am professionals get a chance to relax a little bit and play a round with some local amateurs or national celebrities. The 2017 Greenbrier Classic pro-am field was filled with many big names this year such as J.R. Smith, Larry Fitzgerald, and Willie Robertson, but for Phil Mickelson things were much more political than normal for a Wednesday. Mickelson got the opportunity to play his pro-am round with three prominent political figures in the state of West Virginia: Senators Shelly Moore Capito and Joe Manchin alongside current chief of staff of Governor Jim Justice, Nick Casey.
When asked before his round his thoughts on playing with the three, Mickelson said, “I’m looking forward to having a chance to ask them a lot of questions, I love having a chance to spend time with people who are so knowledgable on a wide variety of topics. I had a chance to play with Senator Manchin years ago when I first played here and really enjoyed my time.”
Mickelson certainly wasted no time getting to his questions out on the course as he was overheard asking Senator Manchin about the continued recovery efforts around the area, following last years historic flood. Throughout the afternoon Mickelson walked along with the senators and carried on lengthy conversations about what is going on around Capitol Hill and the state of West Virginia.
While some would think a day on the golf course would be a break from the typical stress of a day on Capital Hill, both Capito and Manchin were hard at work between golf shots. They spent the afternoon shaking hands, taking pictures, and fielding questions regarding legislation. The senate health care bill was a prominent topic of conversation as many spectators pleaded for Manchin and Captio to repeal and replace Obamacare. “We are doing what we can to get it fixed,” was the typical response from Senator Manchin as he listened to spectator after spectator tell him their story regarding health care.
While Wednesday’s pro-am was certainly a learning experience for everybody in the group, come Thursday morning things will be business as usual for Mickelson out on the golf course. Mickelson is yet to make a cut at the Greenbrier Classic and will be looking to finally play the weekend at the Old White TPC. While Mickelson’s success this week is certainly no guarantee, it is certain he will leave this years Classic with a greater appreciation for the state of West Virginia and its people following his political encounter on a simple Wednesday afternoon in White Sulphur.