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Pinehurst too 'booked' for Mickelson's Open prep

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Phil Mickelson is just 90 miles from Pinehurst No. 2, but he didn’t plan any detours there this week to get in some early preparation for the U.S. Open.

“I've tried to get down there three times now and the course has been booked all three times, so I don't know when I'll get down there,” Mickelson said.

The notion Mickelson couldn’t get on Pinehurst while at the Wells Fargo Championship this week made reporters laugh.

“I've been trying, but the course is booked,” Mickelson cracked. “There are 300 people on the golf course. They won't let me out there.”

Mickelson said he actually prefers waiting to make his scouting trip to Pinehurst a week to two weeks before the U.S. Open, so conditions are closer to what he’ll see during the championship.

When the U.S. Open was played at Pinehurst in 1999, Mickelson finished second to Payne Stewart. It was the first of his six runner-up finishes in that championship. He tied for 33rd when Michael Campbell won the U.S. Open in its return to Pinehurst in ’05.