Sport Phil Mickelson primed for another shot at history at Torrey Pines
Spieth and Garcia share Colonial lead as Mickelson brushes off poor start with title reminder
While Jordan Spieth and Sergio Garcia earned a share of the two-shot lead, Phil Mickelson basked in his US PGA Championship success.Spieth and Garcia both carded bogey-free seven-under-par 63s to share the two-stroke lead following the first round of the PGA Tour tournament on Thursday.
Just four weeks ago, Phil Mickelson’s hopes of winning the US Open and completing the career grand slam faced two massive obstacles.
The most significant, namely the fact that he had yet to qualify for the only major he has yet to win, was helpfully removed by being handed a special exemption by the United States Golf Association.
The second obstacle remained however, in the shape of the poor form which meant he needed the exemption in the first place, the left-hander having failed to record a single top-20 since August 2020 to slip to 115th in the world.
Rolex Minute: A truly historic Major Championship victory for Phil Mickelson at Kiawah Island and The Ocean Course.|
Golf-Woods playoff was cool, says Mediate as U.S. Open returns to Torrey Pines
Golf-Woods playoff was cool, says Mediate as U.S. Open returns to Torrey Pines(Reuters) - Rocco Mediate may not be at this week's U.S. Open but is ready to drive down memory lane as the major returns to Torrey Pines in San Diego for the first time since 2008 when he lost a thrilling playoff to Tiger Woods.
— PGA Championship (@PGAChampionship)
Over the course of four amazing days at Kiawah Island, Mickelson cleared that hurdle himself in typically thrilling fashion, defying the odds – the previous 36 majors had been won by players in the world’s top 50 – and his advancing years to win the US PGA and become the oldest champion in major history.
Back in the world’s top 50 and also armed with a new five-year US Open exemption, Mickelson will celebrate his 51st birthday the day before the US Open gets under way at Torrey Pines in his home city of San Diego.
But he will do so with renewed belief that he can win an event in which he has finished runner-up a record six times and join Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only players to have won all four major titles.
U.S. Open: Mickelson, Spieth or McIlroy – who is most likely to complete the Grand Slam?
Can Phil Mickelson upset the odds again and beat Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth in the race to join golf's Grand Slam winners?Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen stand alone among the pantheon of greats to have topped the leaderboard at The Open, the U.S. Open, the US PGA Championship and the Masters.
“If I’m being realistic, it’s very possible that this is the last tournament I ever win,” Mickelson admitted after his victory at Kiawah.
“But it’s also very possible that I may have had a little bit of a breakthrough in some of my focus and maybe I go on a little bit of a run, I don’t know. I do believe that if I stay sharp mentally I can play well at Torrey Pines.”
Mickelson’s most recent second place in the US Open was behind Justin Rose at Merion in 2013, a month before he won the Open Championship at Muirfield.
But he has never threatened to complete the career grand slam and even skipped the 2017 US Open – at an Erin Hills venue which was expected to suit his game – to attend his daughter’s high school graduation.
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Bryson DeChambeau will hope to match rival Brooks Koepka and retain his crown, but who else could shine at Torrey Pines?Tiger Woods famously triumphed in a dramatic play-off against Rocco Mediate 13 years ago, battling through the pain of a knee injury to secure the trophy for a third time. It was his 14th major triumph, but few would have predicted he would have to wait a further 11 years to add to his collection.
Worse was to come the following year when Mickelson made the headlines for all the wrong reasons at a brutally difficult Shinnecock Hills.
“At that time I didn’t feel like going back-and-forth and hitting the same shot over. I took the two-shot penalty and moved on… I don’t mean any disrespect.”
Phil Mickelson on why he hit a moving ball on the 13th green at the
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports)
Already four over par for the day during the third round on his 48th birthday, Mickelson badly overhit a putt on the 13th green which was set to roll off the putting surface.
Mickelson had other ideas and prevented that from happening by running after the ball and hitting it while it was still rolling, a flagrant breach of rule 14-5 which incurs a two-shot penalty.
Initially unrepentant, Mickelson told the numerous critics – including fellow professionals – who felt he should have been disqualified to “toughen up”, but later admitted he was “embarrassed and disappointed” by his actions.
“It was clearly not my finest moment and I’m sorry,” Mickelson said.
Lee Westwood hopes 121st US Open is a marriage made in heaven
The 48-year-old is taking inspiration from recent performances from Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink and Padraig Harrington.Westwood and Helen Storey tied the knot last weekend before making the short flight to San Diego for the year’s third major at Torrey Pines, where the 48-year-old finished third in 2008.
OurPerseverance Region Champion is Tiger Woods (2008)!
Expect anything different? Tiger fought through a fractured tibia and torn ACL to beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff at Torrey Pines.
— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf)
Mickelson finished in a tie for 18th the last time Torrey Pines hosted the US Open in 2008, Tiger Woods incredibly defying what proved to be a season-ending injury to defeat Rocco Mediate in a play-off, his fifth win in the seven events he played that season.
Woods, of course, remains absent as he recovers from the serious leg injuries suffered in a car crash in Los Angeles in February, while Spain’s Jon Rahm heads the betting market from the likes of defending champion Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.
Rahm was six shots clear after 54 holes of the Memorial Tournament before being told on the 18th green he had tested positive for Covid-19 and would have to withdraw, his period of isolation only ending on June 15.
Having won his first PGA Tour title at Torrey Pines in 2017, the world number three arguably remains a worthy favourite, but after what happened at Kiawah Island, nothing can be taken for granted.
US Open: McIlroy on the charge as Johnson keeps himself in the hunt, Henley reaches the turn ahead .
Russell Henley held a two-shot lead at the turn on Saturday, as Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson enjoyed fine third rounds at Torrey Pines.Johnson put in his best performance of this year's event at Torrey Pines, carding a 68 which moved the world number one to one under par, and he would surely have been even closer to the leaders if not for a dismal loss of form on the back nine on Friday.