Lefty undecided on exemption to play U.S. Open

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PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Phil Mickelson has plenty of work to do if he’s going to be exempt for the U.S. Open in his hometown of San Diego.

But when he falls quick, the five-time main champion — who’s presently ranked 113th on the planet — mentioned Thursday he has not determined whether or not he’ll settle for a particular exemption from america Golf Affiliation to play within the 121st U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course.

“I do not know; I simply do not know the reply to that proper now,” Mickelson advised ESPN after capturing 2-over-par 73 on the Valspar Championship. “I am scheduled to undergo qualifying the day after the Memorial [Tournament in Ohio].”

Mickelson, 50, has been runner-up on the U.S. Open six occasions: 1999 to Payne Stewart at Pinehurst; 2002 to Tiger Woods at Bethpage; 2004 to Retief Goosen at Shinnecock Hills; 2006 to Geoff Ogilvy at Winged Foot; 2009 to Lucas Glover at Bethpage; and 2013 to Justin Rose at Merion.

That’s the most of any participant to by no means have gained the event, the lone main retaining Mickelson from finishing a profession Grand Slam. He has 4 different top-10s within the event.

Lefty has performed in 31 U.S. Opens relationship to his first as an novice in 1990 and at one level performed 23 in a row. He missed the 2017 U.S. Open due his daughter’s highschool commencement and had performed in each earlier one beginning in 1994.

Final 12 months, previous to the coronavirus pandemic, Mickelson mentioned he would flip down a particular exemption if provided one to the U.S. Open, to be performed at Winged Foot — the place in 2006 a final-hole double bogey value him a spot in a playoff.

“I will not settle for it,” he mentioned in February 2020. “So I’m both going to get within the subject alone or I am going to must attempt to qualify. I am not going to take a particular exemption. They’ve by no means been a company that likes to offer out exemptions, particular exemptions. I do not desire a particular exemption. I feel I am going to get within the event. If I get in, I should be there. If I do not, I do not. I do not desire a sympathy spot. If I am adequate to make it and qualify, then I have to earn my spot there.”

As a result of pandemic, the USGA scrapped its traditional qualifying system final 12 months and went to an all-exempt plan, underneath which Mickelson made it into the sector earlier than lacking the lower.

To be absolutely exempt, Mickelson must be among the many high 60 by both Might 24 or June 7. That doubtless means not less than one top-three end or two within the high 5. He is at risk of lacking the lower on the Valspar Championship and is scheduled to play subsequent week’s Wells Fargo Championship, the PGA Championship and the Memorial previous to the ultimate cutoff.

In need of that, he can undergo sectional qualifying, which awards spots to about half the 156-player subject at varied websites. The qualifying location he has already chosen is performed over two programs in Ohio.

For the reason that U.S. Open is at Torrey Pines — the place Mickelson has thrice gained the PGA Tour occasion performed on the venue — it’s potential that he may be extra receptive to a USGA invite, though he mentioned it wasn’t a part of the choice.

“The venue would not make a distinction,” mentioned Mickelson, who tied for 18th on the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. “I simply do not know the reply but.”

The USGA has granted 34 gamers a complete of 52 particular exemptions relationship to 1966, when it gave its first to Ben Hogan. Jack Nicklaus, a four-time winner of the U.S. Open, was given eight and performed his last one in 2000 at age 60. Arnold Palmer was given 5, and he performed his last U.S. Open in 1994 at age 64. Ernie Els bought a particular exemption in 2019. The final participant who had not gained the U.S. Open to obtain a particular exemption was Nick Worth in 2005.

The USGA would sometimes announce any particular exemptions by the center of subsequent month.

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