Phil Mickelson’s career Grand Slam dreams faded once again at Pebble Beach on Saturday, but he couldn’t blame the USGA for it this time.
Since he won the Open in 2013, Mickelson has been trying desperately to try and win the US Open as well in order to capture all four major trophies and complete the career Grand Slam.
No doubt acutely aware that his chances are running out, the 48-year-old has all but held the USGA personally responsible for robbing him of two valuable chances to do so over the last two years by preparing highly controversial and punishing setups at both Erin Hills and Shinnecock Hills.
Earlier this week, Mickelson said only rain could help reign the USGA in, as he accused them of lacking any self control.
“One hundred percent of the time, they have messed it up if it doesn’t rain,” he said. “The rain is the governor — that’s the only governor they have. And if they don’t have a governor, they don’t know how to control themselves.”
And while there was to be no Grand Slam joy for Mickelson once again this year, his chances disappearing on Saturday after he drove it into the Pacific Ocean at 18 for a triple-bogey eight and a four-over-par 75, he had nothing but praise for the USGA for getting it right at Pebble Beach this time.
“Certainly I’m disappointed,” said Mickelson, who will be eligible for the Champions Tour by the time the US Open returns to Winged Foot next year.
“I felt like I played a lot better than I’m scoring, and I certainly didn’t finish this round very well. But I’m really happy that I had this opportunity this week. I’ve got to hand it to the USGA for doing a great set-up. It’s the best I’ve ever seen, and it’s identifying the best players. It’s making the players the story.
“I just think that you’ve got to give credit when they do a good job like this. They’ve done a great job, and there have been many times where one or two yards’ difference in hole location would have made a world of difference, given the conditions being so tough. And this week they’ve done a good job in doing that.
“I think the biggest thing was pin placements, instead of putting them right on the edges they were in good spots, rewarding great shots. I can’t say enough great things about how this week has gone so far. And I’m appreciative to the effort they’ve put in and for the opportunity that I had this week.
“I’ll come out tomorrow and play as well as I can, but today was the day I needed to go low. I played well enough to do it and I had many opportunities. But I didn’t putt well, I left them short the whole time. And then I finished poorly.
“But for the most part I’ve really enjoyed this week. I’ve had a lot of fun testing my game, testing myself mentally, my physical game. And it’s been a fun challenge.”
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