When news broke that Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson would be paired together on the first day of the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California, Phil Mickelson Sr. knew he needed to increase his on-site inventory.
"I made three phone calls so that we can get more product from San Diego to San Francisco," said Mickelson's dad, a former Navy and commercial pilot who owns a niche product called the Sportscope.
By holding the periscope and looking through the view finder, golf fans can see the stars taking their shots no matter how far back in the scrum they are.
Since buying the patent and trademark to the Sportscope in 1997, business has been pretty steady for Mickelson Sr., even though he admittedly doesn't spend much time dreaming how to grow revenues. His two models, standard and zoom lens, have been the same price ($54.50 and $79.50 for years).
While the scope is made for the fan looking to get a glimpse of a Tiger shot amidst the crowds, Mickelson has regular customers that come outside of the sports world.
"We have clients from the military and in law enforcement and we have meter readers, who sometimes have to read a meter in a gated area they can't get to, who use our Sportscope every day."
At the US Open, Mickelson Sr. typically sets up in the main merchandise tent on the host course, manning the booth when his son isn't playing.
The older Mickelson sells out of Sportscopes every year, which he says has nothing to do with manufacturing issues.
"I want to have enough, which is why I made the calls this year, but I always want to sell out."
His busiest times come at the Ryder Cup and the US Open when big stars are matched together. Mickelson quickly sold out when Tiger and Phil played the opening rounds together at the 2008 US Open.
"These things will be worth their weight on gold this year," Mickelson Sr. said with a laugh.
While he's happy with the business he has built, Mickelson Sr. says he's ready to move on if the right deal comes along.
Said Mickelson Sr.: "I'm going to be 77 next month. I think TD time to retire and to pass this on to the right person. I don't need a million dollars. I need someone to be able to promise me that they will serve the needs of fans."
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