US Open 2016

Career Slam on Mickelson's mind

OAKMONT (Pennsylvania) • No other golfer has endured such heartache at one tournament as Phil Mickelson has at the second of the year's four Majors.

He has finished second a record six times since he first played it in 1990. Having captured the British Open in 2013 to go with his three Masters titles and one PGA Championship, the US Open is all that is stopping him from becoming just the sixth golfer - after Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods - to complete a career Grand Slam.

"I could tell you I don't think about it," a relaxed-looking Mickelson said. "(But) I think about it all the time.

"There's no question that starting this year and every year here forward, until I ultimately win this tournament, it will be my biggest thought, my biggest focus, because I view those players that have won the four Majors totally different than I view all the others."

To do so this year though, the 46-year-old knows that his best chance lies with setting aside all thought of the cherished dream. "I have to put that out of my head and... not think about results," he said.

To achieve that, he will instead have to conquer one of the world's finest and toughest golf courses in Oakmont, which features 210 bunkers, undulating greens and thick rough.

Even with his chance at golf history looming large, Mickelson this week maintained the family-first philosophy that has long endeared him to fans - flying across the country to California on Tuesday for his daughter Sophia's graduation from junior high.

"That's a big milestone as they head into high school the following year," he said. "It's just important for me to be there for that stuff."



Day 2: Singtel TV Ch114 & StarHub Ch208, 10.30pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 17, 2016, with the headline 'Career Slam on Mickelson's mind'. Print Edition | Subscribe