SAN DIEGO — The romantic angle to the Phil Mickelson U.S. Open story this week is apparent, besides that it’s a lie. At the very least, it’s a stretch of the reality.
Sure, Mickelson is a hometown boy who has an opportunity to make historical past at his native course.
It’s all there in entrance of you, like room service.
Mickelson, who turns 51 on Wednesday and is simply weeks faraway from his remarkable PGA Championship victory at Kiawah Island, grew up minutes away from Torrey Pines and performed there as a youth.
A win this week would make him only the sixth player in the history of the sport to finish a profession Grand Slam, successful all 4 main championships.
But Mickelson and Torrey Pines — since architect Rees Jones was introduced in to renovate and strengthen the South Course in 2001 as it hoped to land a U.S. Open (it did with the 2008 Open) — haven’t precisely been promenade dates turned steadies turned engaged turned married.
The reality is: Mickelson, although measured and diplomatic in his public statements about it through the years, has by no means favored the modifications Jones made to the course, and his outcomes at Torrey Pines have mirrored his disdain.
In the 9 years Mickelson performed the Farmers Insurance Open, the annual PGA Tour occasion at Torrey Pines, he posted 5 top-three finishes, and his common rating was 69.33 on the South Course through the weekend with 53 % of his rounds within the 60s.
In 18 begins since, he has 4 top-six finishes, a scoring common of 71.45 and solely 29 % of his rounds within the 60s. His lowest weekend rating since 2001 is a 68.
In the previous seven Farmers Insurance Opens, Mickelson has missed the reduce 3 times, withdrawn as soon as with a sore again and skipped one year to play in the Middle East. His greatest end in that span was a tie for 14th in 2017.
“Mickelson lost all of his home-course advantage when they redid that golf course,” Paul Azinger stated on an NBC convention name final week.
“I spent so many hours as a child that, when the course was redesigned, all that native information went away,’’ Mickelson stated Monday, referring to enjoying highschool matches at Torrey Pines.
Mickelson gained at Torrey Pines on Feb. 11, 2001, when the occasion was referred to as the Buick Invitational. Three months later, the Jones redesign started. In 2002, Torrey Pines was awarded the 2008 U.S. Open, famously gained by Tiger Woods.
What Mickelson has executed main into this week is take a distinct tack than he often does main into a significant. Instead of enjoying the week earlier than, which he often does, Mickelson spent some six hours a day final week at Torrey Pines after it was closed to the general public working particularly on the greens.
Because one in all his intangible strengths has all the time been his energy of optimistic perspective, Mickelson has frolicked at Torrey convincing himself to embrace the place he’s primarily disliked for the previous 20 years.
“It’s a singular alternative as a result of I’ve by no means gained a U.S. Open,’’ Mickelson stated after enjoying the again 9 in a follow spherical with Bryson DeChambeau and younger lefty Akshay Bhatia. “It’s in my yard. I’ve an opportunity to arrange correctly, and I wished to place in the best work. So, I’ve sort of shut off all of the noise. I’ve shut off my telephone. I’ve shut off loads of the opposite stuff to the place I can sort of focus in on this week and actually give it my greatest likelihood to attempt to play my greatest.
“I do know that I’m enjoying nicely, and I simply wished to offer myself each alternative to be in play at my greatest. So, I actually made an effort right here, having the final week off, to spend day out right here and actually relearn the greens. I spent loads of hours out right here on the greens final week to see if I can get that native information once more, and we’ll see the way it goes.’’