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Phil Mickelson says he drank a $40,000 bottle of wine out of the Claret Jug


With the Open Championship — the British Open to the xenophobic American — set to kick off this week at Royal Aberdeen, Phil Mickelson is gearing himself up to defend his major victory at Muirfield.

Much like the Stanley Cup, the winner of the Claret Jug — the revered trophy presented to the golfer who best navigates the treacherous course setups typical of an Open Championship — is afforded the honor of holding on to the trophy until relinquishing ownership prior to the start of the next playing of the Open the following year.

Mickelson spent the past week across the pond prepping for the links setup that he and his colleagues will play at Aberdeen by competing in the Scottish Open at Royal Liverpool. Lefty had a decent performance in the tournament Englishmen Justin Rose easily strolled to on Sunday and appears ready and raring to go in his quest to retain possession of the Claret Jug.

Mickelson did reveal over the weekend that even if he doesn’t win the Open for a second consecutive year, he most certainly enjoyed his year with it. He told The Scotsman that one of the more ostentatious things he did with the trophy was to use it as an über fancy drinking vessel.

And while using a trophy as a glorified chalice — be it an alcohol or otherwise — is a common practice (just ask Michelle Wie about her semi-debaucherous antics following her win in the U.S. Women’s Open), Mickelson, a man not only rich in talent but in accumulated wealth and fortune as well, raised the bar significantly as it pertains to both the quality and cost of the booze consumed, even if he claims he didn’t foot the bill for the costly libation.

According to Mickelson, he enjoyed a $40,000 bottle of wine out of the Claret Jug. Yep, that’s a “40” with three zeroes after it.

“I’ve loved having the Jug with me for the last 12 months,” he told The Scotsman. “The people who know and love the game get a big kick out of it. They really appreciate what it means to hold such a famous trophy. And drink out of it. I only let them drink the good stuff of course. There’s been nothing in there that is sub-par. But the best was a 1990 bottle of Romanee Conti wine. It wasn’t on my dime thankfully. It costs about $40,000.”

Thank goodness Mickelson didn’t have to pay for the $40,000 bottle of Romanee Conti. Otherwise we would have been compelled to feel bad for him. It’s interesting how Mickelson made sure to point out that the bottle of wine cost more than a lot of people’s annual salary.

Mickelson’s carefully crafted — some argue artificially manufactured — public persona has been developed and refined over the years to paint the champion golfer as an everyman, a person of the people. While that may be true to a certain extent, most folks that Mickelson aspires to relate to sure as heck ain’t drinking a $400 bottle of wine, much less one that sets a person back $40,000.

There’s a reason why there has been a long-running rumor that his PGA Tour colleagues often refer to him behind his back as “FIGJAM” (“F— I’m Good Just Ask Me”). This story simply expands upon that reputation and arguably enlightens the reasons behind it.

[H/T Eye on Golf]