9 Things That Will Make Phil Mickelson Fascinating To Watch At The U.S. Open
June 03, 2014
The elephant in the room
Will he finally win one? He's finished second in the only major missing from his career grand slam six times. Come on, Phil, don't make us ask this question again next year.
The other elephant in the room
Phil's link to an insider-trading probe is probably more interesting to golfers because of how it might affect his play. But one thing's for sure: a victory at Pinehurst will be a sure-fire way to change the conversation.
His poor form
It's easy to forget, but if Phil wins the U.S. Open, that'll mean a reversal of some pretty dismal form. Since his 2013 British Open victory, he's finished in the top 10 just once in 19 events.
Pinehurst's non-existent rough
Phil seems to play well at U.S. Opens even when the setup doesn't suit him. There'll be very little rough this year at Pinehurst, which means the occasionally wayward Phil might actually have an advantage this time around.
His Tiger-less majors curse
When Tiger doesn't play in majors, Phil doesn't play well in majors. In the five majors Phil has played that Tiger has missed, he only contended once. With time running out for Phil to win his U.S. Open, that's not something he'll want to see continue.
His choice of headwear
Outside of his apparent Tiger-less majors curse, there's another, slightly more trivial trend emerging. In the five majors he's won, Phil has worn visor, hat, visor, hat, visor. He's been sporting the visor a lot recently so far in 2014, but maybe he should break out the hat for the U.S. Open just to be on the safe side.
His interaction with the crowd
Only twice since Mickelson turned professional in 1992 has the U.S. Open been contested in the Southeast, both times at Pinehurst. Phil's a crowd favorite almost everywhere he goes. Will it be the same in North Carolina?
His earlier injury
All signs seem good from Phil on the injury front, but it wasn't too long ago that an oblique injury forced him to withdraw from the Valero Texas Open. And if history tells us anything, and injuries have a habit of popping up for players at the U.S. Open.
Rory and Bubba's (re)emergence
Rory McIlory seems back to his very best, and Bubba is eyeing his third major. There may be no Tiger, but a Phil-Bubba-Rory showdown is a mouth-watering second option.