Professional golfer Phil Mickelson has won every major championship in his sport with the exception of one, the U.S. Open, and that won’t change this year.
Following the third round of the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Oh, Mickelson, 46, revealed to the New York Times that he’ll pass on the Open this year in order to attend his daughter Amanda’s high school graduation.
“Barring something unforeseen, I won’t be there,” Mickelson said, later adding, “As I look back on life, this is a moment I’ll always cherish and be glad I was present.”
Due to the location and time of the graduation (midmorning in Carlsbad, California) in relation to the U.S. Open (Erin Hills in Washington), Mickelson sees no way (barring a weather delay) that he can compete and still see his daughter walk across the stage.
“So there’s just really no way to make it, no matter what the tee time is,” he said.
This isn’t the first conflict for Mickelson with the U.S. Open, which falls on Father’s Day weekend every year. In 1999, his wife Amy’s due date with Amanda coincided with the tournament. Mickelson’s caddie kept a beeper in his pocket that would alert Phil if Amy was going into labor. Mickelson said he was ready to leave the tournament at moment’s notice no matter where he stood on the leaderboard. Amy delivered the day after the final round and Phil finished second to Payne Stewart.
“Phil desperately, desperately wants to win the U.S. Open,” Amy told the Times in a phone interview. “I would have totally understood had he needed to play the U.S. Open. We could have done a video or this or that.”
In 2013, it was Amanda’s 8th-grade graduation that coincided with the tournament. Phil was able to fly home in time for the ceremony and return shortly before the first round. Mickelson finished runner-up once again, his record sixth second-place finish at the major.
Mickelson has won each of golf’s other three majors (The Masters, The Open Championship, PGA Championship) at least once. However, despite the hole in his resume and heartbreaking losses, Mickelson has shown time and time again that his family comes first, and that legacy is far more important than his ranking among golf’s all-time greats.
“I’m really excited for Amanda to go to college, because she’s really a unique and dynamic person,” Mickelson said of his daughter, who will attend Brown University.
“Amy and I are strong personalities, and when the three of us are together, we overshadow her. She thrives when she’s on her own, when we’re at a distance, when people can appreciate who she really is.”
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