SAN DIEGO — Phil Mickelson realizes he has a uncommon mixture going for him this week on the U.S. Open. He has the arrogance from successful the PGA Championship final month, coupled with the additional motivation to arrange for an elusive title in his hometown.
Mickelson, who turns 51 on Wednesday, mentioned he spent the previous week engaged on his sport at Torrey Pines, a spot he is had a little bit of a love-hate relationship with over time on account of a redesign of the course that modified the way in which it performed when he grew up within the space.
“It is a distinctive alternative as a result of I’ve by no means received a U.S. Open,” Mickelson mentioned Monday after a observe spherical at Torrey Pines. “It is in my yard. I’ve an opportunity to arrange correctly, and I wished to place in the best work.
“So I’ve sort of shut off all of the noise. I’ve shut off my cellphone. I’ve shut off a variety of the opposite stuff to the place I can sort of focus in on this week and actually give it my greatest probability to attempt to play my greatest. Now, you all the time want some luck, you all the time want issues to sort of come collectively and click on, however I do know that I am enjoying properly, and I simply wished to present myself each alternative to be in play at my greatest.”
The course was closed final week to the general public in preparation for the U.S. Open, and Mickelson took benefit, particularly by training on the greens.
The six-time main winner who received what’s now the Farmers Insurance coverage Open at Torrey Pines thrice admits he has needed to come to phrases with the modifications made by Rees Jones in 2001. The person referred to as the “Open Physician” did a renovation of the course with the hopes of touchdown a U.S. Open; the work paid off as Torrey Pines bought the 2008 U.S. Open received by Tiger Woods and was additionally awarded this yr’s championship.
Mickelson, nevertheless, by no means tailored. He has simply 4 top-10 finishes in 18 begins for the reason that modifications, together with only one actual official shot at victory — 10 years in the past, when he completed second to Bubba Watson.
On the 2008 U.S. Open, Mickelson infamously performed the primary two rounds with out a driver, really scored 1 shot higher than Woods within the first spherical, however made a 9 through the third spherical when he wanted three chips to get the ball on the thirteenth inexperienced. He ended up tied for 18th.
“I’ve performed out right here a bunch for the reason that redo, however I actually have not spent a variety of time to study the nuances, and I did that early final week,” he mentioned.
Mickelson has completed second a document six instances on the U.S. Open, the latest in 2013 at Merion, the place he completed 2 strokes behind Justin Rose. His closest calls had been on the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, the place he completed a stroke behind Payne Stewart, and on the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, the place a 72nd gap double bogey precipitated him to lose by 1 to Geoff Ogilvy.
A U.S. Open title is the one main that’s preserving Mickelson from a profession Grand Slam.
“When you understand that you simply’re enjoying at a sure degree and you’re affected person and it lastly does click on, prefer it did on the PGA, I felt like I had been enjoying at that degree for a few months however I wasn’t getting it out,” Mickelson mentioned. “Then when all of it comes collectively at an ideal time like that was thrilling to place it collectively.
“I am hopeful that a few of the issues that I had realized heading in will carry over and provides me some extra alternatives this summer time, as a result of I really feel like I am enjoying some good golf.”