With three legs of the career Grand Slam now secure, Phil Mickelson has made it clear: he has his sights set on the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.
Appearing Friday on "Morning Drive," Mickelson reiterated his anticipation for the season's second major as it returns next year to a course where he finished runner-up to Payne Stewart 14 years ago.
"A lot of great things came from that event, even though it was a heartbreaking loss," said Mickelson, whose first child was born the day after the final round in 1999. "Hopefully I'll be able to go back there next year and take some of that emotion and apply it to my game, play well and capture my first U.S. Open."
Mickelson's runner-up in the event this summer at Merion was the sixth of his career, extending his own record for second-place finishes. Always meticulous in his preparation for majors, the 43-year-old indicated he plans to make 2-3 trips to Pinehurst in advance of next year's event, playing 2-3 rounds on the tournament course per visit.
"A lot of it is not just playing, but kind of studying the course on where the ball wants to go, where it's going to end up, and then hitting those shots," said Mickelson. "Half the battle is knowing where to go, and where not to go. I don't want to hit a great shot, or even a good shot, to where I think is OK and not have a chance."
In recent weeks, Mickelson has indicated that his overall schedule for 2014 will likely shorten as he places an added focus on capturing the event that has eluded him the most. The five-time major champion reiterated those sentiments Friday, even hinting that he may skip FedEx Cup Playoff events or World Golf Championships later in the year to remain fresh.
"The first half of the season won't be too different. My performance levels off and goes down a bit as we start to go into the second half of the year," he added. "I think where the changes are going to have to take place are in the second half of the year ... Those events to me are going to have to take a backseat, because I physically and mentally just wasn't able to perform at the level I expect."