Phil Mickelson coming to realize he 'probably' won't ever win U.S. Open

Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Mickelson coming to realize he 'probably' won't ever win U.S. Open

PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson coming to realize he 'probably' won't ever win U.S. Open

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Phil Mickelson didn’t win the 2019 U.S. Open, the one major tournament missing from his Hall of Fame resume.

But unlike last year’s rules debacle, during which he seemingly sent a statement to the USGA by putting a moving ball on Shinnecock’s super-speedy greens, Mickelson left Pebble Beach on good terms.

He made a run up the leaderboard Friday and made the cut for a ho-hum T-52 finish. He also had nothing but praise for the USGA’s setup after ripping the organization’s past failures in the days and weeks leading up.

It was nice to see cooler heads prevail on both sides throughout the week, but it doesn’t change the fact that the U.S. Open remains Mickelson’s white whale. And he’s starting to get more and more realistic about his Career Grand Slam chances at age 49.

“I’m appreciative of the opportunity, even though I didn’t play my best and didn’t win,” Mickelson said. “I really don’t have many more chances. Probably have to come to the realization that I’m not going to win the U.S. Open, but I’m not going to stop trying. I’ll keep trying. You never know.”

It was reminiscent of Sergio Garcia’s public admission during the 2012 Masters that he just didn’t have what it takes to win a major championship. He finally did so five years later at Augusta National.

Mickelson’s case is a bit different since he only gets one crack a year as opposed to four, and the thick U.S. Open rough doesn’t suit his game these days.

The rota heads to Winged Foot next year, where Mickelson had his most memorable of six runner-up U.S. Open finishes back in 2006. Mickelson had a two-shot advantage with three holes to play and led Geoff Ogilvy by one at the 18th tee before a disastrous double-bogey finish.

Mickelson is still capable of winning these days, doing so just a few months ago at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and last year in Mexico City. But it’s not like it used to be.

“I certainly haven’t played at the same level of consistency week in and week out that I did back in my 20s and 30s,” Mickelson said. “When I play well, I’m able to play at a very comparable level to what I played back at the height of my career. … Just not having as many opportunities, so that’s been the hardest thing for me. Having energy levels and recovering and being focused for each shot in four rounds. Out here, the difference is so small between winning and losing.”

No one has learned that lesson more than Mickelson over his U.S. Open career, and it sounds like he’s made peace with that regardless of what the future holds.

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