US Open: Phil Mickelson returns to scene of his most crushing defeat aiming for profession grand slam


The course was the positioning of his most excruciating defeat when in 2006, needing only a par on the ultimate gap — or a bogey to take it to a playoff — to say his first U.S. Open title, the American hit the ball off a hospitality tent and made a double-bogey, handing the title to Geoff Ogilvy.

And whereas the crushing nature of that defeat did not maintain Mickelson again — he went on to win two extra majors — the recollections from Winged Foot will little doubt ceaselessly persist with him.

Whereas the profession grand slam nonetheless stays elusive to Mickelson as he returns to Winged Foot for the 120th U.S. Open Championship, which begins on Thursday, one factor that has modified is his physique. He took to Twitter to indicate his transformation since 2006, admitting he appears to be like a bit “completely different” now.

“Final time I used to be at Winged Foot, I used to be 36 years outdated with no accountability for my well being … After turning into accountable for my very own well being, in the present day I return to Winged Foot and let’s simply say I look a bit ‘completely different.'”

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Mickelson waits to hit from the rough during the final round of the 2006 U.S. Open Championship.

A troublesome take a look at

When Mickelson misplaced that heartbreaker at Winged Foot 14 years in the past, the successful rating was 5 over par. The rating to make the minimize that yr was 13 over.

In distinction to the 13 below Gary Woodland shot in June final yr to win the U.S. Open at Pebble Seashore, many predict one other over-par rating to win the championship in 2020.

The successful rating has been over par in all however one U.S. Open at Winged Foot; Jack Nicklaus as soon as described the course as getting “powerful on the primary tee and by no means getting any simpler.”
And after taking part in the course earlier than the Tour Championship final week, Jon Rahm — the world No.2 — believes gamers will as soon as once more wrestle to make birdies.
“It is only a tough course. It is lengthy. It is slender. It is undulated,” the Spaniard mentioned. “You simply have to play actually good golf.

“If it will get agency like among the USGA guys (the match organizers) instructed me they need it to be, I do not see how any of us shoot below par. Or if we shoot below par, it might be any person successful by quite a bit.”

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Mickelson stands on the 18th green after his last putt in the final round of the 2006 U.S. Open Championship.

The person to beat

Since golf returned from the coronavirus hiatus, Dustin Johnson has been in red-hot type.

In 10 PGA Tour occasions, the 36-year-old has gained three and completed second twice — together with final month’s PGA Championship — and in addition gained the season-ending FedEx Cup title.

In addition to pocketing over $15 million for his FedEx Cup victory at East Lake, Atlanta and returning to world No.1, Johnson was named the PGA Tour’s Participant of the 12 months.

Coming into the U.S. Open, Johnson is undeniably the person to beat, and he instructed the media that he was “happy” with the best way his sport has been “clicking” in latest competitions.

“Clearly I’ve simply put in a whole lot of good work. I really feel prefer it’s good to see that the work you are placing in, to have the ability to take it on the golf course and to golf tournaments,” he mentioned.

“I’ve spent a whole lot of time with (coach) Claude (Harmon III) and my brother engaged on the placing and the whole lot simply appears to be clicking proper now. However I’ve undoubtedly needed to put in a whole lot of work to get to the place I am at. And clearly the sport’s good and it feels good.”

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Johnson celebrates with the FedEx Cup trophy.

Creating higher recollections

In 2006, when the U.S. Open was final held at Winged Foot, Tiger Woods was competing simply six weeks after the dying of his father Earl.
And Woods admits that he wasn’t in the fitting mindset to play effectively then, as he missed the minimize by three pictures. “I used to be not ready to play and nonetheless coping with the dying of my dad,” he mentioned on Tuesday.

“After I did not win the Masters that yr, that was actually powerful to take as a result of that was the final occasion my dad was ever going to observe me play.

“He handed not too lengthy after that, and fairly frankly, once I bought prepared for this occasion, I did not actually put within the time. I did not actually put within the follow, and consequently missed the minimize fairly simply.”

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Woods hangs his head after hitting it into the rough on the 15th hole during the opening round of the 2006 U.S. Open.

Now the 44-year-old is again at Winged Foot hoping to create new, extra optimistic recollections as he goals to win his first U.S. Open title since 2008.

Since golf returned from the break, Woods has struggled for health and type, taking part in in simply 4 PGA Tour occasions, his highest end coming on the PGA Championship when he tied for 37th.

“This yr I actually have not putted in addition to I needed to,” Woods mentioned, “and the occasions I did make just a few swing errors, I missed it within the unsuitable spots. Consequently, I simply did not have the fitting appears to be like at it. I’ve compounded errors right here and there that ended up not making me in a position to make pars or a birdie run, and consequently I have never put myself in rivalry to win occasions.”


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