US Open exemptions offer Mickelson a second chance

It seems Phil Mickelson will get another chance to compete for one of the only missing titles in his illustrious career.

The USGA has announced that Mickelson, who recently turned 50, was amongst a raft of new exemptions into this year’s US Open, the only major title he has been unable to win.

Phil Mickelson Phil Mickelson stands in the rain during the final round at the 2013 US Open and the site of another heart-breaking near miss (Credit: USGA/Darren Carroll)

He was 61st in the world rankings and one spot outside the required top-60 when world rankings were frozen back in March but with the lack of other qualifying opportunities on offer this year, the USGA has chosen to extend the cutoff mark to the top-70.

“We felt that the fairest thing to do was to use a good swath of the frozen ranking because that’s when all the tours were on equal footing,” said the USGA’s John Bodenhamer.

The five-time major winner has famously finished runner-up six times at the US Open and needs that title to become only the fifth player in modern times to collect the career Grand Slam.

He has come agonisingly close on so many occasions but none more so than his inexplicable loss at Winged Foot in the 2006 US Open.

Mickelson looked set for victory with a one-shot advantage as he teed off at the 18th hole. However, a subsequent double-bogey, his only one that week, saw him hand a one-shot victory to Geoff Ogilvy.

“[The exemption] worked out great, to be able to know that I have a chance to go back to Winged Foot and give it another shot. As long as I’m playing well enough to compete to earn my way into the field, then I want to play and keep trying to win that tournament.”

With local qualifying off the cards for this year, the USGA also announced that the field will now include the Order of Merit winners from the PGA Tour Australasia, Asian Tour, and Sunshine Tours, alongside the top seven ranked players from the World Amateur Golf Ranking as of 19th August.