Phil Mickelson receives special exemption into U.S. Open at Torrey Pines
May 14, 2021
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
- Phil Mickelson has received a special exemption into the 121st U.S. Open. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Phil Mickelson will get another chance to claim the career grand slam and the one major championship that has famously eluded him after the United States Golf Association (USGA) handed the veteran a special exemption into the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
Mickelson, now 50, has finished runner up at his national championship six times but was unlikely to gain exemption via traditional methods for the June 17-20 tournament that will be played in his hometown San Diego.
At 116th in the world rankings he was set to enter sectional qualifying in Columbus, Ohio after the Memorial Tournament Presented by Nationwide on June 7, but now can rest easy knowing a tee time is reserved.
The 44-time PGA TOUR winner has five majors in his resume; three Masters titles (2004, 2006, 2010), a PGA Championship (2005) and an Open Championship (2013) but has been unable to close the deal at the U.S. Open in his 29 previous appearances.
“Winning the U.S. Open has been a lifelong and elusive dream, and I’ve come close so many times,” Mickelson said via statement. “You can’t win if you don’t play. I’m honored and appreciative of the USGA for the opportunity and look forward to playing in my hometown on a golf course I grew up on.”
Mickelson was bested by Payne Stewart at Pinehurst in 1999, before also coming up one spot short in 2002 to Tiger Woods (Bethpage Black), Retief Goosen (Shinnecock Hills, 2004), Geoff Ogilvy (Winged Foot, 2006), Lucas Glover (Bethpage Black, 2009) and Justin Rose (Merion, 2013).
“Phil Mickelson’s incredible USGA playing record and overall career achievements are among the most noteworthy in the game’s history,” USGA CEO Mike Davis said. “We are thrilled to welcome him to this year’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.”
Mickelson seeks to join Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods to become just the sixth male player to win all four majors. He is the sixth player since 2010 to receive a special exemption into the U.S. Open. The list includes Tom Watson (2010), Vijay Singh (2010), Retief Goosen (2016), Jim Furyk (2018), and Ernie Els (twice, in 2018 and 2019).
Hale Irwin is the lone player to win the U.S. Open playing on a special exemption, doing so in a 19-hole playoff over Mike Donald in 1990 at Medinah Country Club in Illinois to claim his third U.S. Open title.