Can he do it?
The PGA Championship result from last month would counsel that, sure, Phil Mickelson can win the U.S. Open this week at Torrey Pines in San Diego.
Will he, although?
Do we dare to dream such a factor?
It simply appears like an excessive amount of to ask contemplating the circumstances, doesn’t it?
- Mickelson has by no means gained a U.S. Open in 29 tries.
- He has a file six runner-up finishes which have included some heart-wrenching outcomes that would break the desire of most individuals.
- He has gained the Masters (3 times), the PGA Championship (twice) and British Open and stands a U.S. Open victory away from turning into simply the sixth participant to finish a profession Grand Slam.
- What else? Oh sure, he’ll flip 51 the day earlier than Thursday’s opening spherical.
If you’re not rooting for Mickelson this week, not rooting to witness extra historical past created by one of the vital fascinating gamers the sport has ever seen, you’re very a lot within the minority.
Because virtually everybody might be rooting for Mickelson, who grew up just a few miles away from Torrey Pines, the place he performed numerous instances as a child.
Even Mickelson’s taking part in opponents might be rooting for him. There gained’t be many gamers within the area who gained’t be pulling for him, if they can not win it.
“At the age of fifty, he’s been taking part in on the PGA Tour for as lengthy or longer than I’ve been alive,’’ mentioned Jon Rahm, who was born in 1994, three years after the primary of Mickelson’s 45 PGA Tour victories. “He nonetheless has that enthusiasm and that drive to turn into higher and beat one of the best. I hope that in 25-plus years, I nonetheless have the identical enthusiasm and the identical grit to turn into higher.’’
As flashy as Mickelson’s play is — highlighted by his legendary quick recreation, his scrambling prowess that would make Seve Ballesteros proud and his obsession with “hitting bombs’’ off the tee — the hallmarks of his profession are his resilience and relentlessness.
His resilience has been on show since he was the primary poster little one for “one of the best participant by no means to win a serious’’ earlier than he lastly broke by means of on the 2004 Masters, and as he has continued to place himself in place to win on the U.S. Open, regardless of all of the close-call misses.
His relentlessness has proven in his fixed push to reinvent himself — whether or not it’s along with his well being and weight-reduction plan or with the tools he’s consistently tinkering with or, most lately, mentally with meditation and different methods to enhance his focus, which had been wayward for the previous few years.
These are the important thing substances to the key sauce that has allowed Mickelson to stay aggressive and related as he has blown previous his fiftieth birthday and is the one participant within the area in place to win a second consecutive main championship.
An instance of Mickelson’s unending evolution is the completely different strategy he took main into this U.S. Open. Mickelson virtually at all times performs a match the week earlier than a serious championship, as a result of he believes that’s his greatest strategy to keep sharp.
This time, he altered his technique, opting to take two weeks off from match golf and put together by spending extra time quietly making ready at Torrey Pines earlier than the insanity of U.S. Open week arrives.
Mickelson has by no means been a fan of the modifications made to the South Course at Torrey Pines earlier than the 2008 U.S. Open and, subsequently, has not had success there since whereas taking part in within the Farmers Insurance Open.
Knowing Mickelson, he undoubtedly has spent a number of his apply time at Torrey Pines attempting to persuade himself to love the South Course once more, the best way he did when he performed there as a child and later gained PGA Tour occasions there.
The fantastic thing about Mickelson’s PGA Championship victory final month was how sudden it was. Given his current outcomes (poor), his age and the match of Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course (troublesome fairways to hit, size, a number of wind and bother all over the place) to his recreation, it made no sense to assume he might win there.
As epic because the PGA Championship victory was, are you able to think about a Mickelson win this week and all that would include it?
Mickelson has typically mentioned that whether or not he wins a U.S. Open or not gained’t change how he views his profession or his legacy. But that’s not true. A U.S. Open victory would catapult him into the highest handful of gamers of all time with no authentic argument to say in a different way.
Do we dare to dream about such a factor?
One factor is for certain: Mickelson definitely is.