At Kiawah Island we witnessed Phil Mickelson becoming the oldest major winner in the history of the men’s game. Should he top that and win the US Open, the major that’s continued to elude him throughout his career, then he would happily walk off into the sunset.
Mickelson first played in the US Open in 1990, since then he has finished second six times, three of which in the space of just five years in the 90s, and he would dearly love to win a seventh big one. Bizarrely at the age of 34 he still din’t have any.
“If I win the U.S. Open, I will retire,” he told Golf Digest. “That would be my last tournament. I will have achieved the career Grand Slam and I won’t have anything more to prove.”
The 51-year-old will play in his 31st US Open this year and he likes the set-up of The Country Club at Brookline where he was part of the victorious US Ryder Cup team in 1999 – Mickelson would lose his first two matches before squaring off his record with a fourballs and singles win over Jarmo Sandelin.
"I have great memories of the 1999 Ryder Cup there,” he said. “It’s not a course you can overpower. You have to use precision shot-making and short game. If I play like I did at Kiawah, I’m in contention at least. It won’t be about ‘bombing.’ It will be about control. You really have to shape your shots to get the ball close to some of the pins, those tucked away on a high tier or behind a bunker. Otherwise you are hitting into the middle of the greens, which makes it hard to make birdies. I feel like that gives me an opportunity.”