Phil Mickelson Pops a Cork in Wine Country

In an impressive defense of his title, professional cork popper Phil Mickelson bested other competitors for a second year in a row at the anticipated 3rd Annual Korbel Spray-Off Challenge in Napa, California last week. Mickelson’s bested all comers with a remarkable 77-foot cork pop, earning him first place and the $5,000 top prize.

Using his patented left-handed thumbing technique to deliver the “launch”, Mickelson sent the Korbel cork into the sky at an impressive arch. Ending earlier speculation, Mickelson appeared to return to a 45-degree launch angle after experimenting in earlier competitions with both lesser and greater launch angles.

“I’ve really been working hard to perfect my launch angle,” said Mickelson after the winning pop of 77 feet. “Back home I have a practice launch pad and have spent a good deal of time there just working and working to perfect the 45-degree launch.”

The 2018 Korbel Spray-Off again took place at the 17th tee at the Silverado Country Club in Napa where crowds gathered to watch 34 professional and amateur poppers compete. Popular popper J.J. Spaun took second place with a 68-foot pop, while popping rookie Whee Kim surprised with a third-place pop of 62-feet.

The Northern California Wine Country spray-off has become a popular stop on the Professional Popping Association tour due largely to its proximity to wine country and Korbel’s efforts to support and promote the event. PPA tour officials confirmed the event will remain part of the 2019 tour.

Phil Mickelson made additional news at the Korbel Spray off when he announced that in addition to his full-time professional popping efforts, he will also begin a career as a professional golfer.

“I have no intention of giving up popping and this win at The Kobel is just more motivation to continue,” said Mickelson. “However, I have to give this golfing thing a real chance. I think I can be good.”


Posted In: Wine News


4 Responses

  1. Bill McIver - October 9, 2018

    And then there was Matanzas Creek’s cork spitting contest at our annual Days of Wine and Lavender event.

  2. Tom Wark - October 9, 2018


    Unfortunately, the Matanzas Creek Cork Spitting Event was an amateur event so I was prohibited from participating given my Pro Status.

  3. Helene - October 10, 2018

    Hmmm…Is this an event at the Dublin (Ga.) Games, too? Or does Napa have mud-wrestling and cow-chip throwing also?

    Still, a man who always hits 300-yard+ drives deserves to be the champ of sparkling cork tossing! Glad he’s sticking to being a lefty.

  4. Chris D. - October 10, 2018

    I’m a member at Silverado and had no idea this was happening. Shoot, I would have rather seen that than Sammy Hagar! Way to go Phil and thanks for reporting on this Tom!

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