Phil Mickelson Has Interesting Take On Oakmont

Twice in the past year, people with whom Mickelson associated have been indicted for illegal gambling and insider trading.

Phil Mickelson is the main attraction as he looks to complete the career grand-slam by capturing his first U.S. Open championship.

The changes in his swing, the alterations to his putting grip, his tournament schedule.

The beauty of Oakmont is how little the USGA has to do to alter it for the U.S. Open.

Lefty is giving fans something to cheer about as he chases the only major championship he has never won.

He said as much Wednesday afternoon.

"I could tell you I don't think about it", he said. "No, I think about it all the time".

Ironically, the U.S. Open is the only major to retain an 18-hole Monday playoff, so further lengthy delays could extend play into Tuesday.

That won't be easy.

In his news conference, Mickelson got several questions about off-course issues. Of the 11 majors - eight U.S. Opens, three PGAs - eight players already are in the Hall of Fame: Gene Sarazen, Tommy Armour, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Larry Nelson and Ernie Els. It's a special club Mickelson desperately wants to join.

"The balls might stay in the fairways a little bit more, and might hold on the green a little bit more, but it's still not going to make much of a difference".

But the only time Mickelson showed his age is when he flew home to San Diego for the eighth-grade graduation of daughter Sophia. He turns 46 today.

Westwood was also one under after recovering from bogeys on the first and second to birdie the fourth, but McIlroy had bogeyed the 684-yard 12th - the longest hole in championship history - to lie three over.

Mickelson likes his chances at Oakmont.

"There's no reprieve off the tee, there's no reprieve into the greens, and there's certainly no reprieve on the greens", Mickelson said.

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Ranked No. 624 in the world and playing in his first U.S. Open after surviving local qualifying in Memphis, Landry led four other golfers at 2 under after an impressive 33 on his first nine.

Nearly four hours of scheduled play was wiped out by thunderstorms and heavy rain at Oakmont Country Club before the opening round was eventually suspended for the day with just nine players having completed the full 18 holes. "I feel like I've developed a game plan now coming in that will allow me to shoot the lowest score". It's not like a regular tour event.

Ironically, following McIlroy's words, heavy rain lashed down onto the course, softening it up enormosuly - and potentially playing into McIlroy's hands.

"While I continue to work hard on getting healthy, I am not physically ready to play in this year's U.S. Open and the Quicken Loans National", Woods announced on his official website.

That won't be the case for the U.S. Open.

His six runner-up finishes are a record. But two were downright tortuous.

Even a good performance is likely to net an above-par score at Oakmont, noted 2006 U.S. Open champion Geoff Oglivy. His double bogey on the 72nd hole at Winged Foot is the one moment that still eats at him.

"I was only a hole away".

"I'm obviously excited to be here", said the 27-year-old from Holywood in County Down.

"I'd rather wait to get hurt during the tournament rather than before it", he said, smiling.

"Can't dwell on the past", he said.

He said he felt the worst after losing a back 9 lead on Sunday in 2013 at Merion to Rose.

Lee Westwood, still searching for his first major championship, birdied his final two holes to get to 3-under 67.

He called that his biggest disappointment. "The following week, I was very hard to be around". "It's just important for me to be there for that stuff".

"You've GOT to be kidding me!"

  • Jo Lloyd