Jim Nantz Says Phil Mickelson ‘Was Crushed’ by Fantasy Football Championship Loss in 2020

by Chris Haney
jim-nantz-says-phil-mickelson-was-crushed-fantasy-football-championship-loss-2020 (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

In a new biography about the life and career of PGA legend Phil Mickelson, iconic announcer Jim Nantz shares a great story that encapsulates just how intense the golfer can be about anything competitive. Mickelson is well-known for his trash talk on the golf course, but evidently that carries over to fantasy football as well.

On Tuesday, author Alan Shipnuck released Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar. Early on in the read, Shipnuck shares several anecdotes from the golfing community about Mickelson’s exploits on and off the golf course. That includes some of his epic trash talking moments, for better or for worse. That’s where CBS’s Jim Nantz comes in with a quintessential Phil Mickelson story.

Nantz reveals that he and Mickelson have been in the same fantasy football league for years. The longtime CBS commentator shares that Mickelson works wonders on the waiver wire in their league. In fact, the golfer has even won their league on multiple occasions.

“He takes it very seriously, and he’s good at it — he has won the league championship a couple of times. We hold the draft in person every year in a hotel conference room during the Northern Trust [tournament]. And Phil has never missed one. In 2013, he was staying at a different hotel in Jersey City a couple of blocks away, so he walked over… carrying the Claret Jug,” Nantz shared with the book’s author.

“Some good wine was drank out of it that night,” Nantz added.

However, like anyone else that’s played fantasy football, Mickelson has had his fair share of bad luck as well. A couple years back, the six-time major winner looked like he’d win another fantasy football title. Yet the fantasy football gods had other plans.

Jim Nantz Shares Wild (and Relatable) End to Phil Mickelson’s Fantasy Football Season

“The best story is from 2020,” Jim Nantz said of he and Phil Mickelson’s fantasy football legaue. “Phil had Alvin Kamara as his running back when he went for six touchdowns in Week 16. That gave Phil such a commanding lead in the standings it was a virtual certainty he was going to win the title. I’m talking a 99.999 percent probability.”

The New Orleans Saints running back had an epic game that surely locked in numerous championships for fantasy players that season. Yet one other player exploded that same week, which ended up coming back to bite Mickelson.

“He sent out an email to the whole league, gloating,” Nantz continued. “I mean, he went on and on, really laying it on thick. Well, the team that was in second place had Josh Allen as their quarterback. And in the last game of the season, on Monday night, Allen went for 39 points and Phil lost the title by one point.”

Mickelson took the fantasy football championship loss so badly, Nantz thinks it messed with his golf game for months. Mickelson struggled for the next few tournaments, and Nantz blames fantasy football for his poor play.

“He was crushed,” Nantz said. “Absolutely devastated. He took it so hard I honestly believe it affected his play on the West Coast swing.”

There might be some truth to Jim Nantz’s comments. After Week 16 of the 2020 NFL season, in Mickelson’s next three tournaments, he missed the cut twice and tied for 53rd place. That said, Phil got back on track by the next summer. In May 2021, he became the oldest player to ever win a major at the PGA Championship.