I agree. Phil's always been recognized as fan-friendly and accessible to the media. He speaks off the cuff, isn't spouting out the usual rehearsed statements like Tiger has been known for over the years, seldom calls the media out for asking mundane questions, and is always making himself available to the fans. Very much fan-interactive.
But if Tiger hadn't come along, Phil would undoubtedly be the best player of his generation. The microscope on him would've been much more intense. The media would've most likely treated him a bit differently under the lens of that degree of scrutiny, despite his accessibility and seemingly openness to the fans. Yet there have been things in Phil's past that he chooses to not go there with, most notably a fairly notorious gambling problem outside of golf.
I think your statement ultimately explains things. Except that he just doesn't treat the fans well, he also treats the media and sports reporters well, because they've in turn treated him well.
That friendly association tends to buy a lot of stock.