Phil Mickelson loves N.Y. and has the logo to prove it

Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports

Phil Mickelson loves N.Y. and has the logo to prove it

PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson loves N.Y. and has the logo to prove it

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Many athletes would not be welcome back anywhere near New York if they had, let’s say, taken an extra swipe at a bad putt during a disastrous round at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills on Eastern Long Island less than a year ago.

But Phil Mickelson is far from typical and – for reasons we’re all still trying to figure out – has found a home among the millions of sports fans who otherwise swear allegiance to the Big Apple and teams which play throughout the Tri-State area.

Lefty is back in the Empire State prepping for the 101st PGA Championship. Play begins Thursday at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, nestled in the heart of Nassau County.

Mickelson began his battle to win over once again hearts and minds with a Tweet on Monday that features a new twist on the decades-old “I Love New York” slogan.

Mickelson finished second twice in the U.S. Open at Bethpage in 2002 and ’09. He finished T-13 there in the 2016 Barclays. This course plays long and Lefty’s driving has improved this year.

When it comes to New York crowds, he likes them and they like him.

One does not need to be of New York to be loved in New York. Derek Jeter moved to Michigan from New Jersey when he was four. Joe Namath delivered a Super Bowl via Alabama and Western Pennsylvania. Eli Manning played college football at Ole Miss. Walt Frazier was from Atlanta and Patrick Ewing – dare we say it – came to Madison Square Garden from Georgetown and Cambridge Rindge & Latin High School in Massachusetts. That school is just four miles from Boston Garden and Fenway Park, and boasts Ben Affleck and Matt Damon among its alumni.

Lefty hails from San Diego and Scottsdale, Ariz. That’s about as non-New York as you can get outside of Tom Brady’s Duck Boat. But Mickelson will hear the roars this week at Bethpage. Now, they may not be as frantic as the cheers reserved for incumbent Masters champion Tiger Woods. But Lefty’s Legions will be as loud and boisterous as any group allowed near the course.

And that includes folks hoping John Daly can huff and puff his way on a golf cart to another PGA Championship trophy. Or those backing defending champion Brooks Koepka, who won free beer for Gotham last week.

The only question remains is where can we get those t-shirts and bumper stickers.

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