Editor's note: In what was to be 2020 Masters week, we are walking down Memory Magnolia Lane with a look back at some of Furman Bisher's columns from the tournament. Bisher died in 2012 at the age of 93 having covered 62 of the 75 Masters. Selah. Today: Phil Mickelson wins his first Masters. The column appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on April 12, 2004. Yesterday: Charl Schwartzel, an unlikely champion

AUGUSTA — Here's to the left-handers of the world. We, er, uh, they have completed the conquest of the green nation of Augusta National Golf Club. Mike Weir planted his claim last year, sweeping in from Canada. Phil Mickelson nailed it down Sunday afternoon, and it was a scene never to be forgotten. Back-to-back left-handed champions of the Masters.

When they make the movie, Hugh Grant plays the lead.

Here’s this guy who has been clobbered and horse-whipped for years for not being great. Or greater. For not sweeping the board. For throwing away tournaments he had in his pocket. For going for the pin when just a simple layup would have done. For not making life a lot cozier for all the left-handers of the world who play golf from his side.

Phil Mickelson always seemed to be able to win the Buick, the Chrysler, the Colonial, the Mercedes, the Northern Telecom. Heck, he won that while he was still an amateur. But he never could bring home one of the big Opens, the PGA, any of the majors. He finished second in the U.S. Open twice and the PGA Championship once, and that’s the closest he ever came to winning a major. Twenty-two times he won on the PGA Tour, but did he ever bring home the U.S. or British Open? No.

The left-handed natives were getting pretty fretted. Remember Pinehurst, when he had to stand to the side while Payne Stewart putted him out of the Open? He came close in the PGA, never within a whisper in the British Open, but he was constantly sniffing around a green jacket at the Masters.

Sunday, he finally got his arms through the sleeves of one, valeted by that other left-hander, Mike Weir, the trailblazer. Mission accomplished!

If he had to pick the one he wanted most, this was it. The Masters. Something hallowed in his mind. Usually, when he comes into one like this, with the prize dangling in front of his eyes, he finds a way to throw it back. Not this time. He began winning this one Saturday, playing one of the steadiest, headiest rounds of his life. Free of bogeys.

He didn't carry the streak on into Sunday, flags flying, crying challenge. He began the day with three strokes on Ernie Els, who knows how to win Opens, two U.S. and one British. Els picked up six strokes on the par 5s, and when he rolled in an eagle putt on the 13th green, you might have thrown in the towel.

But not the New Phil. The one who has learned when to charge and when to go with the flow. The scoreboard was a scramble, players flying up and down, charging and crashing, but Ernie and Phil were never far apart. And so Phil stood on the 18th green, looking at about a 18-foot putt downhill to put it away. (Els, meanwhile, was rolling putts on the practice green, keeping warm but staying cool.)

The rolling ball looked wide left, but somehow caught the lip and fell in the cup, and the exuberant image of the Phil Mickelson we have all known and loved — most of the time — flashed across the world.

“This is my day,” he had told himself, and it was. And it was ours too. There he was, mugging his wife and kids, trying to kiss one with a pacifier in her mouth. It was a scene from The American Family having a Sunday outing at the golf course.

We forgive him for all the disappointments. All these years we’ve had to wait, and now we have not just one left-hander in a green jacket, but two. Is a third in the works?

By the way, I wonder if Hugh Grant is left-handed.