PINEHURST, N.C. – Despite so many close calls and near-misses, Phil Mickelson has enjoyed a long love affair with the U.S. Open, playing some of his best golf on courses that don’t necessarily suit his style of play.
Perhaps it has something to do with the power of positive thinking.
Looking back over the years, Mickelson has been effusive in his praise for U.S. Open setups prior to each one beginning – including this week.
Here is a look at how Mickelson has described each of the last seven:
• 2014, Pinehurst No. 2: “It's just a wonderful test that is, I think, the best test I've seen to identify the best player.”
• 2013, Merion: “It's so demanding. It's such a great track. It's one of the best I've seen for a U.S. Open.”
• 2012, Olympic Club: “It's such a wonderful test of golf and has had so many great things happen over the years here.”
• 2011, Congressional: “I think it's a wonderfully fair test for such a difficult, long test. I thought it was very well done, and I'm looking forward to playing.”
• 2010, Pebble Beach: “I think it's the best U.S. Open setup that I've seen.”
• 2009, Bethpage: “It's a wonderful golf course. … It's one of our favorite Open venues.”
• 2008, Torrey Pines: “I think that it's a fair test. I think it's the best setup I've ever seen for a U.S. Open.”
In fact, you’d have to go all the way back to 2007, when Mickelson injured his wrist hacking out of the Oakmont rough during a pre-tournament practice round, to find a venue that he didn’t love.
• 2007, Oakmont: “The greens are interesting. I've enjoyed studying them and spending some time on them. I think that will be the biggest challenge this week.”