Phil Mickelson will get another crack at completing the career Grand Slam.
The member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, who turns 51 next month, has accepted a special exemption from the United States Golf Association to play in the 121st U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in his hometown of San Diego.
With a U.S. Open title, Mickelson would join Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods as the only players to complete the career Grand Slam.
The winner of 44 PGA Tour titles, including five major championships, was unsure if he would accept a special exemption. To be fully exempt, Mickelson would have needed to be in the top 60 in the official world ranking by either May 24 or June 7. He likely would have needed top-3 finishes in both the PGA Championship and Memorial to get into the top 60.
He is ranked 116th.
“If I had not made it through qualifying, it would have been difficult not to be a part of the U.S. Open on a course I spent so much time playing as a kid,” Mickelson said.
“Winning the U.S. Open has been a lifelong and elusive dream, and I’ve come close so many times,” he added via a release. “You can’t win if you don’t play. I’m honored and appreciative of the USGA for the opportunity and look forward to playing in my hometown on a golf course I grew up on.”
Mickelson was scheduled to play in sectional qualifying on June 7 – the day after the Memorial – at Brookside Golf and Country Club and The Lakes Golf and Country Club in Columbus, Ohio.
Mickelson is the sixth player since 2010 to receive a special exemption into the U.S. Open. The list includes Tom Watson (2010), Vijay Singh (2010), Retief Goosen (2016), Jim Furyk (2018), and Ernie Els (twice, in 2018 and 2019). Hale Irwin is the lone player to win the U.S. Open playing on a special exemption, doing so in a 19-hole playoff over Mike Donald in 1990 at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club to claim his third U.S. Open title.
“Phil Mickelson’s incredible USGA playing record and overall career achievements are among the most noteworthy in the game’s history,” said USGA CEO Mike Davis in a release. “We are thrilled to welcome him to this year’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.”
The winner of the Masters in 2004, 2006 and 2010, the PGA Championship in 2005 and the Open Championship in 2013, has been runner-up a record six times in the U.S. Open. He finished second to Payne Stewart in 1999, to Tiger Woods in 2002, to Retief Goosen in 2004, to Geoff Ogilvy in 2006, to Lucas Glover in 2009, and to Justin Rose in 2013.
His most notable defeat came in 2006 at Winged Foot when he took a 1-shot lead to the 72nd hole and made double-bogey 6 to miss a playoff by one.
He has four other top-10s in the U.S. Open. He has played in 31, his first coming as an amateur in 1990.
Mickelson won the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in 1993, 2000 and 2001. In the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, Mickelson, world No. 2 at the time, was grouped with No. 1 Tiger Woods and No. 3 Adam Scott in the first two rounds. While Woods won his third U.S. Open in a playoff against Rocco Mediate, Mickelson, who decided to forgo his driver that week for a 3-wood bent to 11.5 degrees, shot rounds of 71-75-76-68 to finish in a tie for 18th.
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/05/14/phil-mickelson-special-exemption-us-open-torrey-pines/