Has Phil Mickelson underachieved in his PGA Tour career?

Phil Mickelson
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Should Phil Mickelson have won more to this point in his PGA Tour career? Probably. But if he did, would he have been as fun to watch? Probably not.

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Monday, February 04, 2013 | 9:15 a.m.

It sounds like a cruel question, but it's one posed by BleacherReport.com's Fred Altvater: has Phil Mickelson underachieved in his PGA Tour career?

Let's take a brief look at the resume...

With his win on Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Mickelson earned his 41st career PGA Tour victory. The last time he went an entire season without a PGA Tour "W" was 2003 (his best finish that year was third at the Masters). Lefty is a four-time major winner with three Masters triumphs and one PGA Championship. He's been a runner up at the U.S. Open five times and has five, top-3 finishes at the Masters -- not including the three wins.

Mickelson has played on a record nine consecutive U.S. Ryder Cup teams. He's arguably the most exciting player in golf to watch given his risk-reward nature. His incredible game coupled with his appreciation of the fans have him labeled by many as a modern-day Arnold Palmer.

Yet, still, harsh as it seems, a debate could be had about whether or not he has underachieved. Imagine being the second-best of your generation at something (which Mickelson was to Tiger Woods through the late 90s and most of the 2000s), but still be called an underachiever? That's either the biggest slap in the face, or the biggest compliment a person could get.

Altvater makes his case:

Is it fair to compare Mickelson's career to Woods'?

While Woods is respected among golf fans Mickelson is beloved for his go-for-broke style and aw-shucks smile.

He will turn 43 in June and was diagnosed with a form of arthritis three years ago, which has certainly affected his play.

Another bump in the road has been the highly publicized battles with cancer for both his wife, Amy, and his mother.

By any standard, Phil Mickelson has had a marvelous, Hall-of-Fame career, but somehow the putt that executed the severe 360 degree lip-out to prevent him from posting a 59 on Thursday could be a metaphor to his golfing career.

To read all of Altvater's piece, click here.

Based on what he wrote, it seems Altvater answered his own question with a resounding, "No!"

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.