Home favourite Phil eyeing career Grand Slam at Torrey


Phil Mickelson in San Diego, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson believes this week’s US Open at Torrey Pines represents a unique opportunity for the now six-time Major winner to finally capture his National Open title.

The San Diego native is a six-time runner-up at the US Open but after the brilliance of his PGA Championship triumph at Kiawah Island, Mickelson is now hoping home comforts help get him over the line and into the most exclusive club in golf.

“It’s a unique opportunity because I’ve never won a US Open,” Mickelson said at his pre-tournament press conference on Monday.


“It’s in my backyard. I have a chance to prepare properly, and I wanted to put in the right work. So I’ve kind of shut off all the noise. I’ve shut off my phone. I’ve shut off a lot of the other stuff to where I can kind of focus in on this week and really give it my best chance to try to play my best.”

Mickelson has a wealth of course knowledge to draw on this week as he goes in search of a magnificent seventh Major win. The 50-year old, who turns 51 on Wednesday, honed his skills as a high school student on the subtleties of the Torrey Pines South Course, a public course of America that first hosted a US Open in 2008, and one at which Mickelson claimed victory three times in his career during regular PGA Tour stops in 1993, 2000 and 2001.

“It’s been a special place for me to grow up and play our high school matches, play a lot of golf out here as a municipal course,” Mickelson added.

“To make the course open to the masses is a special thing and to have a Major championship on that venue is exciting. Although it’s a lot different than when I grew up 35 years ago, it still is a special site, and it’s in remarkable shape.”

Although Mickelson hasn’t played Torrey as much as he used to of late, as part of his preparation for another shot at the elusive career Grand Slam, he put the hours in last week to relearn the intricacies of his old stomping ground.

“I really haven’t come out here and spent a ton of time. It’s hard to get a tee time out here, and when you do, it’s a long round,” he said.

“So I don’t spend a lot of time out here other than the Farmers. I really made an effort here, having the last week off, to spend time out here and really learn, relearn the greens. I spent a lot of hours out here on the greens last week to see if I can get that local knowledge again, and we’ll see how it goes, but I had a lot of fun kind of relearning and spending a lot of time out here.”

Mickelson aims to join Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods in the most exclusive club in golf this week. The action from Torrey Pines gets underway on Thursday.

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