Jack Nicklaus' name was mentioned, and Tom Watson's, following Phil Mickelson's vic Golf
rounduptory in the Northern Telecom Open."He's just on a different level," said Bob Tway, a former PGA champion and one of the victims of Mickelson's left-handed magic.
"You'd have to go back to Nicklaus to find an amateur like Phil," agreed Tom Purtzer, who had to settle for a tie for second with Tway in the face of Mickelson's stunning triumph over adversity.
"Guys like Phil and Nicklaus and Watson don't come down the pike too often," Purtzer said.
In fact, the 20-year-old Arizona State junior, who previously tied one of Nicklaus' amateur marks, went one up on the Golden Bear with his one-stroke victory on Sunday.
Last year, Mickelson joined Nicklaus as the only golfers to win the NCAA and U.S. Amateur championships in the same season.
Nicklaus, however, did not win a pro tournament as an amateur. Mickelson was only the second to do so since Gene Littler won the San Diego Open in 1954.
"He's a special kid. He's a kid you'd like to have as a son or brother," said Purtzer, 39, a veteran of 17 seasons on the pro tour.
As an amateur, Mickelson passed up the $180,000 first prize and returned to his classes in Tempe, Ariz., today while the pros went on to Hawaii. Tway and Purtzer split the first and second-place prizes, worth $144,000 each.
Mickelson's rewards included a 11/2-year exemption on the pro tour, beginning after his graduation date in the spring of 1992, a pass through the Tour's qualifying school and a "can't-miss" label when he eventually joins the professional ranks.
He said he's in no rush to change his amateur classification, despite the million dollar purses now common on the pro tour.
"Money's no problem right now. I'm on a scholarship. There's no pressure on me, financially, to go out and try to make money," he said.
At Palm Meadows, Australia, Greg Turner of New Zealand shot a 4-under-par 68 Sunday to win the $1 million Palm Meadows Cup golf tournament.
Turner ended the tournament with a total of 271, 17-under-par. He set up the victory with a course-record 62 in the second round on Friday.