Just when you thought the U.S. Open couldn’t have greater meaning for Phil Mickelson, now it does.
With an Open Championship victory on Sunday, Mickelson now owns five career major titles, including hardware from three of the big four. The only one missing, of course, is the U.S. Open, where Phil has famously finished runner-up a record six times.
So what are his chances of joining Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the sixth player to capture the career Grand Slam? Let’s break down his previous ventures at each of the upcoming U.S. Open venues:
• Pinehurst No. 2 (2014): Mickelson’s first runner-up finish came on this course back in 1999, as Payne Stewart sank a final-hole putt to claim the title. When the tournament returned a half-dozen years later, he could only manage a T-33 result.
• Chambers Bay (2015): He’s never played this one in competition, but if there’s a silver lining it’s that very few others in the field will have, either.
• Oakmont CC (2016): As a young pro, Mickelson faltered to a final-round 79 that left him T-47 in 1994, but that disappointment was outdone by scores of 74-77 in 2007 which led to a missed cut.
• Erin Hills (2017): See Chambers Bay.
• Shinnecock Hills GC (2018): Tied for third place after each round in 1995 and just one off the lead entering Sunday, Mickelson finished in a share of fourth place with a final-round 74 as his scores progressively increased by two strokes each day. In 2004, he was in the mix until a double bogey at the 71st hole left him in second place behind Retief Goosen.
• Pebble Beach (2019): In his pro debut at the '92 U.S. Open, he shot 68-81 here to miss the cut. Eight years later, he finished T-16 followed by a share of fourth in 2010. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t found success on the seaside links, though, four times claiming the title at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
• Winged Foot GC (2020): Mickelson famously flamed out on this venue in 2006, when he parlayed a one-stroke advantage going to the final hole into a one-shot loss, thanks to a wayward drive that led to double bogey. He will turn 50 just two days before the 2020 edition of the event.