Phil Mickelson has six runner-up finishes at the US Open, but has never won. This week he will make a third bid at Oakmont Country Club, where a breakthrough would complete his career grand slam.
In the last 27 years Mickelson has played 26 US Opens and missed the cut only twice, at Pebble Beach in 1992 and at Oakmont in 2007. The 45-year-old,who turns 46 on Thursday, is one of three players in the field to have played at the 1994 US Open at Oakmont, where he finished in a tie for 47th. The other two are Jim Furyk and Ernie Els.
Mickelson made his US Open debut as an amateur at Medinah Country Club in 1990, where he tied for 29th. Since then his history with the year’s second major has not been fortuitous.
His best opportunity came at Winged Foot Golf Club in 2006, where he entered the final round tied for the lead. A solid Sunday helped ‘Lefty’ reacht he 18th tee box with a one-shot advantage as he reached for his driver. He sliced the tee shot into a hospitality tent and bounced onto the trodden rough nearby.
The current world number 17 tried to play his second shot around a tree, but ball connected trunk and he was in the rough once again. He was desperate to make the green in three, but his approach plugged into a greenside bunker. He suffered a double-bogey six and gifted Geoff Ogilvy the title.
Mickelson is a 42-time PGA Tour winner with nine top-25s this year, including runner-up results at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the FedEx St. Jude Classic last week.
The San Diego-born golfer leads the tour in scoring average, but ranks 174th in driving accuracy, which needs improvement given that Oakmont is characterized by narrow fairways surrounded by deep rough. He’s labelled it the ‘hardest course ever,’ but will look to get the monkey off his back there.