One day at a time: Mickelson returns to Shinnecock, briefly

May 10, 2018; Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, USA; Phil Mickelson reacts after his shot on the ninth hole during the first round of The Players Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass - Stadium Course. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Peter Casey/USA TODAY Sports

One day at a time: Mickelson returns to Shinnecock, briefly

PGA Tour

One day at a time: Mickelson returns to Shinnecock, briefly

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Phil Mickelson is banging his one-day-at-a-time drum.

During a Monday news conference where Southampton breezes caused a strange noise, the 47-year-old six-time U.S. Open runner-up Mickelson preached patience.

“My goal is to stay in it Thursday, stay in it Friday, and have an opportunity for the weekend,” Mickelson said. “So I’m not really thinking about winning right now. I’m thinking about getting in it for the weekend. But certainly, the final leg for me of completing the Grand Slam is this event.”

Mickelson’s return here highlights his incredible U.S. Open record and, in particular, New York. But there are also reminders galore of the 2004 U.S. Open setup gone wrong. He finished second in that U.S. Open, a victim of Saturday’s 7th green hole location and an overall extreme course setup. Mickelson has not let that fiasco go.

“The difficulty is, when you dream of a championship as a child — whether it’s U.S. Open or the Masters, whatever event — and you dream of winning these tournaments as a child and you work hours and hours and you fly in days and days and do all this prep work, and then you are left to chance the outcome, as opposed to skill, that’s a problem. That’s the problem that I have with it.”

Mickelson, who turns 48 Saturday, made his last visit to Shinnecock Hills until Thursday’s 8:02 a.m. ET tee time with Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. He intends to do all of his practice at Friars Head Golf Club and avoid the U.S. Open limelight.

In part because his Shinnecock “notes” and assessments haven’t changed much despite an additional 449 yards and many new hole locations.

“So the notes that I had in 2004 are all accurate. In fact, they were 100 percent the same from 2004 as they are today,” Mickelson said. “But the notes that I took weren’t precise, like this putt breaks ‘X’  amount. The notes were that you must stay here for this pin, you must go here for this pin, the odds of getting up and down from this spot are 50 percent, 10 percent.

“So it just guided me on where I need to be for different pin placements and how I want to attack the hole, and that stayed the same from 2004.”

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