Mickelson will miss US Open to attend daughter’s graduation
American star’s wait to complete career Grand Slam will continue for another year
Phil Mickelson will miss the upcoming US Open to attend his daughter’s high school graduation. Photograph: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Phil Mickelson said Saturday that he would withdraw from the US Open, the only Major championship he has not won, to attend what he considers a more important event – his daughter Amanda’s high school graduation.
Before his third round at the Memorial Tournament, Mickelson said he had informed his sponsors and Mike Davis, executive director of the US Golf Association, of his decision to skip this year’s tournament at Erin Hills in Wisconsin. The first round is June 15th, the same day as Amanda Mickelson’s graduation from Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad, California.
“As I look back on life, this is a moment I’ll always cherish and be glad I was present,” said Mickelson, who will turn 47 the day after the graduation.
Mickelson and his wife, Amy, had faced similar conflicts before The US Open at Pinehurst in 1999 bumped up against the due date of the couple’s first child. Mickelson vowed that he would leave North Carolina no matter where he stood on the leaderboard if Amy alerted him through a beeper tucked in his caddie’s pocket that she had gone into labour back in Arizona, where the couple was living at the time.
That child was Amanda, and she arrived the day after Mickelson’s riveting final-round duel with Payne Stewart, who celebrated his win by holding Mickelson’s face and saying: “Good luck with the baby. There’s nothing greater than being a father.”
Stewart died in an airplane crash four months after his victory at Pinehurst, and his words have lived on in Mickelson’s mind as he and Amy raised their three children. Mickelson said that he had wrestled with the latest conflict for months and that Amanda had assured him that she would not mind if he were absent.
Mickelson needs a victory in the US Open to become the sixth man to win a career Grand Slam, and his window of opportunity is closing. The oldest US Open champion is Hale Irwin, who was 15 days past his 45th birthday when he won in 1990.
(New York Times service)