Having recently announced that he would miss this year’s U.S. Open to attend the high school graduation ceremony of his 18-year-old daughter, Amanda, Phil Mickelson has been handed a potential lifeline by the USGA.
This U.S. Open, which is in its 117th year, is being held at Erin Hills, Wisconsin. It is the first time the state has played host to the tournament.
Mickelson, a five-time major winner, had initially expected to be absent from this year’s tournament, the first day of which clashes with the commencement ceremony at Pacific Ridge School.
However, Mickelson—who has finished runner-up at the U.S. Open on six occasions in his career—has been awarded an opening day tee time that might yet allow him to compete at the Open.
Mickelson’s allocated tee time is 2.20pm, one of the later starts on the opening day, whilst his daughter’s graduation is scheduled to commence at 10am. With a flight time of approximately four hours from California to Wisconsin, Mickelson would be cutting it fine. He would most likely be relying on inclement weather conditions to delay his tee time.
The good news for the professional golfer is that the current forecast is showing thunderstorms throughout the week.
If Mickelson were to miss the U.S. Open, it would be the first time the 46-year old has been absent from the tournament since 1993.
It would also be the first major championship to feature neither Mickelson nor fellow American golf legend Tiger Woods since their respective careers began. Woods, who was recently arrested on alleged DUI charges, has not played in a major since 2015 and will miss the U.S. Open with a recurring back injury.
Needless to say, fans are somewhat disappointed by Mickelson’s anticipated absence. One fan even created a petition at Change.org, urging Pacific Ridge School to change the date of Amanda’s graduation ceremony to free up her father.
The school has responded by saying that the graduation date will not be amended.
Mickelson’s daughter, who was born the day after he came tantalisingly close to winning the U.S. Open in 1999, is her class president and will also be giving a speech at the ceremony.
Mickelson’s U.S. Open track record
The U.S. Open is the only major in which Mickelson is yet to triumph, a fact which may tempt him to hop on a plane after the graduation. The opportunity to secure a career Grand Slam will not be one that Phil passes up lightly.
The San Diego-born left-hander won his last major in 2013, shooting a final round 66 to win The Open Championship at Muirfield, Scotland. He is also a three-time Masters champion, and won the PGA Championship in 2005.
If Mickelson were to participate, he would be playing his opening round with Ryder Cup team-mates Stewart Cink and Steve Stricker.