Phil Mickelson plays a shot on the driving range during a practice round prior to the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 09, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Tales from the Masters: Phil Mickelson refused autograph to young Brooks Koepka

It’s still funny.

Koepka related the story Tuesday about his first trip to the Masters in the late 1990s. He was about 9 years old, some 25 years before he would play Augusta National as a professional himself.

“Probably about the only kid Phil’s ever turned down,” Koepka said. 

» Masters tee times: First-, second-round pairings

Koepka was seeking autographs and made his way to the old driving range at the course and then, somehow, into the parking lot. There he made his request of Mickelson and was turned down.

“He told me years later, I shouldn't have been in the parking lot, so fair enough,” Koepka said.

When pressed for details, Koepka was asked if he had ever reminded Mickelson of their early introduction, one long before the would be PGA Tour peers.

“I mean, I can't believe he doesn't remember the first time he ever said no to a kid, signing an autograph,” Koepka joked. “I told him, I think in 2014, I think we were playing a practice round at the British Open. I had to tell him. I was like, ‘Listen, man, you stiffed me, and I really didn't like you for a long time.’ ... He was typical Phil, right back at me. I shouldn't have been there. We can laugh about it now. I've got his autograph now.”

Mission accomplished — finally.

Mickelson acknowledged the oddity of now playing alongside golfers who once sought his autograph.

“It’s actually fun stories that a guy like Brooks Koepka, who’s won, what, three majors now recently, has been out here following as a kid,” Mickelson said. “It’s a little weird, but it's pretty cool, too, and to be able to play with him and see his greatness shine and to be a somewhat part of that or a witness to it as well as compete against it, it’s been fun.”

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.