Phil Mickelson isn’t planning on playing the U.S. Open at Erin Hills. Instead, he’ll be staying home to be at his daughter Amanda’s high school graduation.
Of course, the conspiracy theorist’s read of the situation is Mickelson is playing this gambit so the school would consider moving the graduation. His daughter is slated to graduate June 15, the first round of the U.S. Open. Amanda Mickelson will be giving the commencement speech for her fellow graduates at the Pacific Ridge School.
“I wanted to make sure they [the USGA] had enough notice to accommodate it…So that’s why I’m saying something today, but it doesn’t look good for me playing. But I’m really excited about this moment in our family’s life.”
Mickelson, who will turn 47 the Friday of the U.S. Open, has had a long history of scheduling conflicts during the tournament.
Famously, his wife was on the verge of giving birth during the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst. Lefty wore a beeper so he could be paged if his wife went into labor. Ultimately, she didn’t, and Mickelson finished runner-up to Payne Stewart.
Regarding his presumptive absence at Erin Hills, Mickelson indicated what his daughter has been saying to him, but he was clear he’s not going to miss the milestone event in her life.
“’Dad, I know you love the Open.’ [Amanda told her father] She’s always been very supportive. But it’s one of those things you just show up. You just need to be there. It wasn’t really something that we discussed, because it really wasn’t much of a decision.”
The left-hander, who needs a U.S. Open victory to complete the career grand slam, also left Merion in 2013 to attend Amanda’s eighth-grade graduation, returning shortly before the opening round.
Mickelson has been in the field for every major championship since the 2009 Open Championship, which he missed while his wife, Amy was being treated for cancer.
While there are several prominent strains of Mickelsonian criticism, and the beeper incident is snickered about, there’s no doubt the man truly loves his family and does his best to be there. A player of his stature can’t simply go conspicuously at the U.S. Open, so he’s compelled to furnish an explanation. If you don’t like hearing stories about “Phil the family man,” direct your ire at the media, not Mickelson.