I just got off from reading a post from one of my favorite golf forums, The Sand Trap, and that my beloved Phil Mickelson is one of "The Ten Most Hated Athletes" today, according to David Gargill and Nate Penn of Men.Style.Com, The Online Home of Details and GQ.
In the article "Mr. FIGJAM" (the second paragraph of the article explains the acronym), was ranked 8th. Obviously, I don't know Phil on absolutely any personal level but what I can relate to and appreciate is his playing ability.
I think when it comes to any mega-sport athlete you're always going to have three types of athletes, or players in my case. You either have a fan of the people, a fan of the players, or both (ala Tiger Woods). Phil is surely a fan of the people and it's obvious at whatever tournament he's in by the gallery that forms. I think it stems back from when he was "go for broke" Phil and did stuff on the course that would make you cringe but deep inside you wanted to see him do it to.
I think reasons like these make him so likeable by the fans. They want to see excitement and drama. They can relate at that level when they know it may not be the smart play but it's sure going to be fun to try.