Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the U.S. Open, realizing there was no chance to get from his daughter’s high school graduation in California to make his tee time in Wisconsin.
This is the first time Mickelson has missed the U.S. Open since he failed to qualify in 1993 and his first missed major since the 2009 Open.
Mickelson had been holding out hope that, with the potential of storms over Wisconsin, there might be a four-hour delay that would allow him to watch his daughter graduate and zoom across the country in his private jet. His daughter Amanda is senior class president at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad, California, and is scheduled to give a commencement speech.
Instead, the U.S. Open began Thursday under sunshine with little threat of bad weather all day.
Roberto Diaz of Mexico, the next alternate, officially took Mickelson’s afternoon tee time.
Mickelson holds the U.S. Open record with six runner-up finishes, and it’s the only major keeping him from the career Grand Slam.
“It’s a tournament that I want to win the most,” Mickelson said two weeks ago when he first revealed the scheduling conflict. “The only way to win is if you play and have a chance. But this is one of those moments where you look back on life and you just don’t want to miss it. I’ll be really glad that I was there and present.”
Amanda nearly caused Mickelson to withdraw from the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2. Mickelson’s wife, Amy, was due with her as the tournament opened. Mickelson carried a beeper with him and pledged to leave in the middle of the tournament, if necessary — even if he were leading. Payne Stewart made a 15-foot par putt on the last hole to beat Mickelson by one shot.
Amanda was born the next day.
The last time Mickelson finished second at the U.S. Open was in Merion in 2013, the week Amanda graduated from the eighth grade. Mickelson attended that ceremony too, though it was on a Wednesday. He flew overnight to Philadelphia, arrived at 4 a.m. and took a quick nap before his 7:11 a.m. tee time. He took the 54-hole lead that week until Justin Rose surged past him on the back nine.
Mickelson, who celebrates his 47th birthday Friday, said he believes he will have more chances at that elusive U.S. Open trophy, and the next few years are favorable. The U.S. Open will be played next year at Shinnecock Hills, where Mickelson was in position to win in 1995 and 2004. Then it’s Pebble Beach in 2019 and Winged Foot in 2020. Winged Foot is where he made a double-bogey on the final hole to lose by 1 stroke.
ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.