Phil Mickelson to scale down events in bid to win elusive US Open

American has won five Major championships in his career

 Phil Mickelson  during a news conference at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club  in Kuala Lumpur  ahead of the CIMB Classic tournament.

Phil Mickelson during a news conference at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur ahead of the CIMB Classic tournament.

Wed, Oct 23, 2013, 20:33

British Open champion Phil Mickelson will begin scaling back his tournament commitments next year in a bid to win an elusive US Open title and complete a rare career grand slam, the American said yesterday.

Mickelson (43) has won five Major championships in a brilliant career but has suffered a heart-wrenching six runner-up finishes at the US Open – the missing piece in his grand slam puzzle.

The big-hitting left hander completed the third leg of his slam bid in July when the hard work he put into improving his driving accuracy paid off with a first British Open title at Muirfield.

Success at next year’s US Open at Pinehurst in North Carolina would make Mickelson the sixth man to win all four majors and emulate the achievements of South African Gary Player and compatriots Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen and current world number one Tiger Woods.

Career goal
“There is no hiding the fact that winning the US Open would be my career goal and completing the career grand slam,” Mickelson said in Kuala Lumpur on the eve of the PGA Tour’s CIMB Classic in Malaysia.

“That is the final leg that I have and I’ll be putting most of my focus into winning the US Open.”

That extreme focus on the Majors, mean other less significant events will be sacrificed. Mickelson has played at least 20 PGA Tour events in each of his last four seasons, while Woods, the winner of 14 Majors, played only 16 this year – one of his more active campaigns.

The world number three did not pinpoint which events he would be cutting for the 2014 season, which began at the Frys.com Open in California two weeks ago, but suggested the CIMB Classic might be one.

“My whole purpose and focus will be . . . participating in certain tournaments that will help me play well in those Majors, so a tournament that is taking place two months prior or after a Major championship that has no impact on my ability to perform well in a Major, those are tournaments that I won’t put as much importance on.”

Symbolic win
A US Open triumph at Pinehurst would also be symbolic as it was the venue of one of Mickelson’s most memorable near misses, beaten by Payne Stewart on the final hole with the victor famously embracing the lefthander after sinking the winning putt.