Mickelson determined to join elite list

The list of golfers who have won a career grand slam is an exclusive one, and Phil Mickelson is determined to join that group.

Americans Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, and South African Gary Player are the only players to have won all four majors and Mickelson is just one shy of completing the slam.

With the US Open the only major missing from his impressive collection, he will get a chance to join the elite group this week when he tees off at Pinehurst.

“It’s a career goal of mine to win all four majors,” Mickelson said. “I feel like the five players that have done that have separated themselves from the other players throughout all time. It shows that they have a complete game. If I’m able to do that, I feel that I would look upon my own career differently.

“That’s why it would mean so much, in addition to the fact it’s our national championship. Growing up here in the United States, this is a tournament that I’ve always felt this patriotism to and would love to win, plus with all the close calls. It would really mean a lot to me.”

The build-up to the second major of 2014 has not been smooth for the American as he only has one top 10 finish to his name this year while he is also subject of an FBI investigation into alleged insider trading.

The 43-year-old, though, is ready for the test that the No.2 Course will provide.

“I feel as good about my game today as I have all year,” Mickelson said. “It’s not saying a lot, because I haven’t played well all year, but last week was a good week for me. I started to slowly put it together.

“I struggled on the greens (at the FedEx St Jude Classic in Memphis), but the greens here are quick and so I’m actually going to go back to the claw grip to create a softer roll.

“My driving’s taken a whole different turn and if I can put it together like I did those last two rounds, this week could be a good one because it will make a big difference having a shorter iron in.

“There’s no luck involved with the hack-it-out rough that sometimes we have around the greens. It’s just a wonderful test that is, I think, the best test I’ve seen to identify the best player.

“I feel this golf course, this set-up and everything about Pinehurst provides me the best opportunity. I don’t want to get overly excited, because the pressure of a US Open and having not been in contention (this season), that’s going to be a challenge for me.”