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Phil Mickelson’s highly anticipated appearance in his first Major of the year ended two days sooner than he’d have liked at The Country Club, with the 52-year-old admitting he wasn’t as prepared as he needed to be to take on the Massachusetts course.
Mickelson went into the tournament one US Open win away from a career Grand Slam having finished runner-up in the Major six times. Still, while it was perhaps asking a lot for him to win this year, having spent several months out of the game before reappearing at the first LIV Golf Invitational Series event, his 11-over-par total that saw him miss the cut was a letdown.
Video: Things You Didn't Know About Phil Mickelson
In an exclusive interview with Golfweek (opens in new tab), the six-time Major winner admitted that he was further away than he needed to be to compete in such a gruelling tournament. He said: “I thought I was more prepared than I was. The US Open is the ultimate test. And you don’t really know where your game is until you get tested, and I thought I was a little bit closer than I was.”
US Opens are often characterised by courses that play long with narrow fairways, and this year is no different. However, it was on the green where Mickelson thinks his game was most lacking, an issue he also struggled with in his tie for 33rd in the previous week’s event at the Centurion Club. He admitted: “I really struggled with putting. I’m struggling with the putter, last week and this week. I feel I’m certainly playing better than I’m scoring and I look forward to working on it.”
One thing Lefty isn’t blaming his performance on is the course. On the contrary, Mickelson was full of praise for the preparation put into ensuring it was in the best possible shape for a US Open. He said: “I enjoyed getting back out here. The thing I enjoyed the most was playing such a historic golf course and having it set up so remarkably. I think the USGA really did a good job. It really showcased this historic place.”
After four months away from the game, the tournaments are coming thick and fast for Mickelson. Next is the second LIV Golf tournament, which begins in Portland, Oregon in under two weeks, and Lefty is keen to get back out there. He said: “I’m pretty motivated to get back to work.”
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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