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Mickelson changes his mind, accepts exemption to US Open | CBC Sports

Byjuly

May 14, 2021

Phil Mickelson is assured at the very least another crack on the main that has given him essentially the most heartache. He accepted a particular exemption Friday to play the U.S. Open.

Mickelson turns into the primary participant since Vijay Singh in 2010 to obtain an exemption with out having received the U.S. Open, and he isn’t with out benefit. He has received 5 majors — all of them besides the U.S. Open — to go together with his 44 victories on the PGA Tour.

He has been eligible for each U.S. Open courting to 1994, however the 50-year-old Mickelson has fallen out of the highest 100 on this planet rating. He had mentioned in February 2020, a month earlier than golf shut down due to the pandemic, that he wouldn’t settle for an exemption even when the USGA provided him one.

He was ready to undergo 36-hole qualifying on June 7, per week earlier than the U.S. Open returns to Torrey Pines in his hometown of San Diego.

“Winning the U.S. Open has been a lifelong and elusive dream, and I’ve come close so many times,” Mickelson mentioned. “You can’t win if you don’t play. I’m honoured and appreciative of the USGA for the opportunity and look forward to playing in my hometown on a golf course I grew up on.”

U.S. Open heartbreaks

No one has suffered extra within the U.S. Open than Mickelson, who wants solely that main to finish the profession Grand Slam. He holds the U.S. Open document with six runner-up finishes, and two moments stand out.

In 2006 at Winged Foot, he took a one-shot result in the ultimate gap when he missed the golf green nicely to the left after which curiously tried to hit 3-iron round a tree blocking his path to the inexperienced. It hit the tree, his third shot plugged in a bunker and he didn’t get up-and-down, making double bogey to complete one shot behind.

And then at Merion in 2013, he had the 54-hole lead for the primary time and was nonetheless main when he hit wedge over the par-3 13th inexperienced and made bogey on the simplest gap. He made one other bogey with a wedge in his hand from 121 yards away on No. 15 and closed with a 3rd bogey to complete two pictures behind.

He additionally was runner-up at Pinehurst No. 2 in 1999 when Payne Stewart made a 15-foot par putt on the final gap, twice at Bethpage Black (2002 to Tiger Woods, 2009 to Lucas Glover) and Shinnecock Hills in 2004 to Retief Goosen when Mickelson made double bogey on the 17th gap.

“Phil Mickelson’s incredible USGA playing record and overall career achievements are among the most noteworthy in the game’s history,” mentioned Mike Davis, outgoing CEO of the USGA. “We are thrilled to welcome him to this year’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.”

WATCH | Mickelson wins PGA Tour Champions occasion in Richmond:

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Mickelson grew up taking part in the general public course alongside the Pacific bluffs, and he’s a three-time winner of the PGA Tour occasion at Torrey Pines. The final one was 20 years in the past, and he has been crucial of the redesign by Rees Jones to get the South Course prepared for the 2008 U.S. Open.

He has not completed within the high 10 on the tour occasion at Torrey since a runner-up end 10 years in the past.

Mickelson tied for 18th within the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, 5 pictures out of the playoff received by Tiger Woods. Lefty curiously selected to not carry a driver that week on a course measuring 7,643 yards at sea stage.

Adamant about qualifying

Mickelson didn’t qualify for the U.S. Open in 1993, when he misplaced in a playoff for the ultimate spot to a participant who made a 50-foot putt on him. He did not play at Erin Hills in 2017 as a result of his oldest daughter was graduating from highschool that week.

He was ready to undergo qualifying once more, and was adamant about it at Pebble Beach in February 2020 when he mentioned, “I am either going to get in the field on my own or I’ll have to try to qualify. I’m not going to take a special exemption.”

Mickelson mentioned his statements concerning the spot had nothing to do with the USGA. (Elsa/Getty Images)

He made it to Winged Foot for the U.S. Open final September when the USGA needed to get rid of qualifying due to the pandemic and expanded the world rating exemption from the highest 60 to the highest 70. Mickelson was No. 66 on the time.

‘I do not desire a sympathy spot’

Mickelson has not all the time had the most effective relationship with the USGA, typically criticizing the way in which the course is about up. He made his strongest level in 2018 at Shinnecock Hills, the place just a few pin positions had been so tough on baked-out greens that gamers had bother holding putts from going off the placing floor.

On the 13th gap within the third spherical, Mickelson’s putt glided by the opening and he ran over and swatted it again towards the cup because the ball was nonetheless transferring, an egregious violation. He was given a two-shot penalty and made a 10 on the opening.

He mentioned final 12 months his resolution to not settle for an exemption had nothing to do together with his emotions towards the USGA. It was extra about benefit.

“If I get in, I deserve to be there. If I don’t, I don’t,” he mentioned on the time. “I don’t want a sympathy spot. If I am good enough to make it and qualify, then I need to earn my spot there.”

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