After Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth both came up short in their attempts at the Masters and US PGA respectively, the chance to become just the sixth player to complete the career grand slam falls once again to Phil Mickelson.
The 48-year-old knows is just a US Open victory short of golfing immortality. He’s had his chances, too. On six separate occasions, he has finished runner-up in his national open – a record he no doubt would rather not own.
Of course, all of that will be forgotten should he finally, eventually win the trophy and, with this year’s championship at Pebble Beach just three weeks away, the left-hander is feeling confident about his prospects.
Well he might be, too, having already won there this year in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am – his fifth victory in the event. He also tied for fourth the last time the US Open was staged there in 2010.
“We're on a golf course at Pebble where you really don't need to hit a lot of drivers,” said Mickelson, “and you need to putt poa annua greens very well with a lot of break, which is something I've done well. So it gives me a chance. It lessens my weakness, which is hitting fairways. It makes that not quite as important because you don't have to hit drivers there.”
The career grand slam isn’t all that’s at stake. A victory would make Mickelson, who turns 49 on the final day of the championship, the oldest winner in major history.
“There's not much I could do right now that would do anything to redefine my career but there's one thing I could do, and that would be to win a US Open,” he said. “If I were to do that, it would change the way I view my career because there are only five guys that ever won all the majors, and you have to look at those guys differently. If I ever join that crowd, and the only way to do that is to win a US Open, it would redefine my career.”