Phil Mickelson has a reputation. True, he’s one of the world’s best golfers, but he’s also one of the world’s most generous. Mickelson doesn’t talk a lot about what he gives, but the people he’s helped as well as his former caddy, Jim “Bones” Mackay, will share. Mickelson is an excellent tipper, dropping $100 when he picks up a pizza or gets his shoes shined.
The extent of Mickelson’s giving goes well beyond a few Franklins here and there. Through his nonprofit foundation, The Phil and Amy Mickelson Foundation, the five-time major winner and second richest golfer on tour has influenced a lot of lives. Here are some examples:
- In 2005, Phil and Amy started Birdies for the Brave to raise money for military veterans wounded in combat. Initially, they donated $100 for a birdie and $500 for an eagle during his golf season. More than 30 players now participate.
- Phil helped develop the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, which brings promising elementary school science and math teachers to locations around the country for weeklong, all-expenses-paid seminars to share tools for teaching STEM subjects effectively.
- The golfer works with the Special Operations Warrior Foundation to fund college scholarships for children of special ops soldiers killed while serving.
Phil may be the best example of a generous giver on the PGA Tour, but he’s far from the only one making a difference. Several other golfers have their own foundations that give back to the community.
Perhaps the greatest player of the modern age, Tiger Woods initially had a reputation for being a little cheap. Maybe he doesn’t tip like Mickelson, but his Tiger Woods Foundation has raised more than $150 million — much of it donated by Tiger — to support education, especially for low-income kids.
The foundation funds STEM programs, teaches educators about STEM learning, encourages college attendance, promotes golf among underprivileged youth, and pays for college scholarships under the Earl Woods Scholar Program.
The youngest player to win on the PGA Tour founded a charitable foundation, the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation, early in his career. The main organizations he helps are connected to special-needs youth (Spieth’s beloved sister Ellie has special needs) as well as the military, pediatric cancer, and junior golf. So far, he’s donated more than $3.2 million.
Davis Love III
PGA Championship winner Davis Love III works to give money for causes related to children and families in southeast Georgia. His Davis Love Foundation helps run the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic and has raised more than $13 million. The two-time Ryder Cup captain’s foundation helps the Special Olympics and Boys & Girls Clubs, among others.
The daughter of a breast cancer survivor, Cristie Kerr started Birdies for Breast Cancer, which raises funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. She and other LPGA players donate money for every birdie they make. They also make appearances for the cause at fundraising golf tournaments. To date, Kerr has helped raise more than $3 million.
Bubba Watson started the “Drive to a Million” campaign, which raised more than $1.3 million to benefit The First Tee of Northwest Florida, Ronald McDonald House of Pensacola, and Fresh Start. He’s donated money and a high-end car to Birdies for the Brave. After his 2018 Travelers Championship win, Watson gave $200,000 to The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, which sends kids with debilitating illnesses to camp.
Many golfers on the PGA and LPGA Tours give generously. Altogether, the PGA Tour has donated more than $2.65 billion to charitable causes. And the LPGA has raised millions through the LPGA Foundation to promote women’s golf and assist with scholarships.