Mickelson’s title bid stands out at US Open | Golf News

BROOKLINE: Of all the storylines unfolding ahead of this week’s US Open, none is as compelling as Phil Mickelson’s latest attempt to win the tournament for the first time.
The 156-man field for the third major of the year, known as golf’s toughest test, includes plenty of in-form players looking to build on impressive starts to the season, but none will make headlines as will Mickelson.
Mickelson has been a runner-up at the US Open a record six times and his latest bid to complete a career Grand Slam comes a week after emerging from a self-imposed hiatus to play in LIV Golf’s first event backed by the ‘Saudi Arabia. Invitational series.
Mickelson was the toast of the golfing world a year ago when, at 50, he won the PGA Championship to become golf’s oldest great champion, but has since come under fire for his breakaway LIV Tour comments .
The six-time major champion will tee off at the Country Club outside Boston on Thursday under a cloud of uncertainty having not competed on the PGA Tour since January.
“It’s going to be a challenge, isn’t it. It’s the toughest test in golf,” Mickelson said.
“It was important for me to have some competitive golf last week and identify some of the areas of weakness. It was one of the worst putting tournaments I’ve had in years.”
The 7,254-yard course at Brookline will play like a par-70 and while not long by modern PGA Tour standards, it will command respect and challenge every aspect of a player’s game.
There are many blind tee shots at Brookline and all of them will require precision due to the unforgiving rough that is typical for a US Open and can reach 5 inches (12.7cm) in some areas.
Headlining the field is tournament favorite and world No. 3 Rory McIlroy, who triumphed at the 2011 US Open and arrives this year fresh off a successful title defense at the Canadian Open.
McIlroy has been nearly eight years since winning his fourth major, but he has finished in the top 10 at the last three US Open tournaments and this year finished second at the Masters and eighth at the PGA Championship. .
“I’m coming back to a place where I feel a lot more comfortable,” McIlroy said. “My game is now at a place where I feel confident going to those golf courses that are set up harder than the daily touring events and knowing I have the game and the mentality to succeed.”
World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler has calmed down since winning the Masters for his fourth PGA Tour victory in six starts, but has a short game that could prove invaluable given Brookline’s small greens.

Michael C. Ford