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When it comes to Phil Mickelson and the US Open, it is seems to be the case of 'always the bridesmaid and never the bride,' with the 51-year-old finishing runner-up in the event a record six times!
The victory means so much to the American that, speaking to Golf Digest on Wednesday, he actually stated that: “If I win the US Open, I will retire. That would be my last tournament. I will have achieved the career Grand Slam and I won’t have anything more to prove.”
Mickelson, who finished second in 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2013, has had a number of close shaves in the event. The particular tournament that stands out, is the 2006 US Open at Winged Foot...
Leading by one shot going down the 72nd hole, the left-hander was looking to claim his third Major title in a row, something only Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods had only ever achieved. However, he would carve his tee shot left, then hit a tree with his second.
Following two poor shots, he would subsequently plug in the bunker for his third and then fail to get up-and-down, eventually signing for a double-bogey six and a one stroke defeat to surprise winner, Geoff Ogilvy.
Now, 16 years on from that infamous moment, Mickelson has gone onto secure multiple PGA Tour and Major titles. Famously, at the 2021 PGA Championship, he became the oldest Major champion at 50 years, 11 months and 3 days old.
You may be wondering what is one of the inspirations to his successes? Well, speaking to the media ahead of the Saudi International, Mickelson revealed that Tiger Wood’s 1997 Masters win continues to inspire and drive him to success.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Woods’ sensational maiden win at the tournament to claim the first of his 15 Majors. That week in Georgia, he strolled to a record-breaking 12-stroke victory at Augusta National.
“What I get out of that week, as I remember and look back on Tiger’s first win in the ’97 Masters, is how he shot 40 on the front nine and turned it around and shot 30 on the back nine on Thursday. I thought that the way he fought and hung in there after a terrible start, with expectations on him to perform and to win, and he opens up with a 40 on the front nine, he didn’t back down, he didn’t wilt, he came out and brought his best golf on the back nine and shot 30 to open with a 70 and ultimately win by 12 shots or so.
“It was one of the most impressive performances ever in the game of golf. I think the US Open in 2000 was probably the greatest performance, but that was really impressive. I look back on that as a way to inspire me not to ever give up when I go through a tough spurt like he did on the front nine.”
Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
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