Mickelson admonishes Aussie teen for embellishment
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 28, 2016 11:16 AM
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)
DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Phil Mickelson admonished 17-year-old Ryan Ruffels for "high school stuff" on the eve of Australian's debut on the PGA Tour.
Don't talk about wagers. And don't embellish the story.
"I met him a month ago, and we played for the first time," Mickelson said Wednesday at the Farmers Insurance Open. "He's young, and he's got some things to learn."
In a story two weeks ago in Sydney Morning Herald about the teen turning pro, Ruffels told of a round he played at Torrey Pines last month with Mickelson and his brother, Tim, the golf coach at Arizona State.
He said Mickelson told him on the first tee, "I don't wake up this early to play for any less than $2,500." Ruffels said Mickelson gave him 2-to-1 odds, and that the teen birdied six of the last seven holes to win the match, earning $5,000.
Two days later, however, Wasserman Media Group issued a statement over concerns that it might have involved NCAA recruiting violations by saying Ruffels never had any intentions going to college and that the "friendly wager" and barrage of birdies was "a bit overdone and becoming a media fish story."
Ruffels posted on Golf Channel's Instagram account that the story was "very inaccurate."
"The wager amount has also been exaggerated out of proportion," Ruffels said.
Mickelson was asked after his pro-am round about his relationship with Ruffels and began, "Well, that's an interesting one. I met him a month ago, and we played for the first time. He's young, and he's got some things to learn. One of them is you don't discuss certain things. You don't discuss specifics of what you play for. And you certainly don't embellish and create a false amount just for your own benefit.
"So those things right there are ... that's high school stuff," Mickelson said. "And he's going to have to top doing that now that he's out on the PGA Tour."
Ruffels is playing on a sponsor's exemption at the Farmers Insurance Open.