For more than 40 years, Phillips worked for Wilson Sporting Goods and during that time came to be recognized as the face of Wilson Golf to tour and club professionals alike. As vice-president of golf promotions, Phillips' responsibilities included negotiating and signing golf professionals on both the PGA and LPGA tours as well as researching and developing new club designs, including Wilson's JP wedge series. The list of touring professionals Phillips worked with reads like a virtual who's who of golf, including Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson and Patty Berg. A native of Philadelphia and an accomplished saxophonist, Phillips attended Granoff School of Music. He is a past president of Golf Manufacturers and Distributors Association, and former chairman of the National Golf Foundation. In 1984 Wilson Sporting Goods established the Joe Phillips Cup in his honor, with Sarazen the first recipient.