Phil Mickelson called up a young golfing phenom from Australia to help talk up his alma mater, Arizona State, the team his brother also happens to be the golf coach for. The 16-year-old Ryan Ruffels enjoyed the conversation and had this to say:
“I was out here putting and I got this call from an international number and I jumped on my phone and he said, ‘Hey, it’s Phil Mickelson,’ ” Ruffels told The Sydney Morning Herald. “I thought one of my mates from school was giving me a prank call.Mickelson chatted with the youngster for an hour, and the two made plans to meet when Ruffels travels to the United States in a few weeks.
Ruffels, now based in Melbourne, was born in the United States but moved to Australia five years ago when his dad got a job as the tennis coach at the Australian Institute of Sport. He won the age 15-17 division in the World Junior Championship in July, and finished fourth in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship last month.And about this time a year ago, he became one of the youngest players ever to earn a top-25 finish in the Australian Open – where he got to know Rory McIlroy, who won that tournament. He’s planning to try the Australian Open again in a few weeks, and that’s one more reason for us to pay attention.