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U.S. Open 2020: Phil Mickelson’s adventures at Winged Foot picked up right where he left them 14 years ago

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Jamie Squire

Phil Mickelson will be fighting some serious demons this week at Winged Foot. So far, so good.

Lefty kicked off his first round Thursday afternoon in the 2020 U.S. Open, returning to Winged Foot for the first time in competition since his collapse down the stretch in 2006. (Wait, you haven't heard about it? You must not read any golf website or magazine leading up to this week, or follow any golf social-media accounts. We're impressed.)

You most certainly recall (or if you're too young, you've seen the YouTube video) the big-time sliced drive Phil hit at Winged Foot's 18th hole on Sunday back in 2006 ... off the hospitality tent, the failed approach shot ... you know, we know.

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But we bring it back up because you need to appreciate how Phil started his round on Thursday at Winged Foot. Just yards away from the scene of the crime and the West course's 18th hole, Phil hit another flail to the left off the first tee on Thursday. And again, forgive us if we didn't see the irony in it.

But unlike in 2006, Phil hit a masterful escape from the trees and thick rough—a miraculous shot to six feet at the West course's complex first green. Take a look.

Phil made the six-footer for birdie, and then scrambled again at the second hole from the left rough, hitting it onto the green and making another seven-footer.

There's something romantic about that start from Phil. Perhaps after all that suffering and still looking for a U.S. Open title all these years later, the golf gods were shining down on Phil at the start of his round.