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He couldn’t… could he?

Less than a month after he made history by becoming the oldest man ever to win a major championship, Phil Mickelson has the chance to do something this week that many had concluded he was now too old to: win the US Open and complete the career grand slam.

Mickelson, runner-up a record six times in his national championship, can become just the sixth player in history to win all of men’s golf’s marquee events should he prevail at Torrey Pines this week.

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That’s Torrey Pines, owned and operated by the city of San Diego – where the left-hander was born 51 years ago this Wednesday.

Fate or far-fetched? Phil favours the former.

“It’s a unique opportunity because I’ve never won a US Open,” he said. “It’s in my backyard. I wanted to prepare properly. I’ve kind of shut off all the noise. I’ve shut off my phone. I’ve shut off a lot of the other stuff to where I can kind of focus in on this week and really give it my best chance to try to play my best.

“You always need some luck, you always need things to kind of come together and click, but I know that I’m playing well.”

• US Open 2021 – The field in full

Mickelson added that he has been inspired by the continued success of his close friend and frequent golf buddy Tom Brady. 

The NFL legend steered the unfancied Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Superbowl glory earlier this year in his first season with the Florida franchise. It was a seventh championship title for the former New England Patriot, who, at the age of 43, became the oldest starting quarterback ever to win American football’s top prize.

“I learn a lot by just watching and observing the dedication, the hard work,” added Mickelson, who makes his 30th US Open start this week. “When we would go play at Augusta and he’d stay at the cottages, he’d would be up hours before we played.

“He would go to the gym and do a bunch of band work for an hour just getting his shoulders and knees and hips and everything firing and activated.

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“He’s very disciplined in what he eats and recovery and taking the time to do the right things after the round and so forth. It’s inspiring to see, because when you see somebody do it and do what he’s doing, which is play football at the highest level at an age that really nobody else has ever done it, it’s inspiring, and it’s motivating.

“When you see it happen, it’s much easier to do.”

Phil proved that last month. How he’d love to do so again this week.


author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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