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Phil Mickelson changes his mind, accepts exemption to US Open

Phil Mickelson has had a record six runner-up finishes at the US Open.
Phil Mickelson has had a record six runner-up finishes at the US Open.Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

Phil Mickelson is assured at least one more crack at the major that has given him the most heartache. He accepted a special exemption Friday to play the US Open.

Mickelson becomes the first player since Vijay Singh in 2010 to receive an exemption without having won the US Open, and he’s not without merit. He has won five majors — all of them except the US Open — to go along with his 44 victories on the PGA Tour.

He has been eligible for every US Open dating to 1994, but the 50-year-old Mickelson has fallen out of the top 100 in the world ranking. He had said in February 2020, a month before golf shut down because of the pandemic, that he would not accept an exemption even if the USGA offered him one.

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He was prepared to go through 36-hole qualifying June 7, a week before the US Open returns to Torrey Pines in his hometown of San Diego.

“Winning the US Open has been a lifelong and elusive dream, and I’ve come close so many times,” Mickelson said. “You can’t win if you don’t play. I’m honored and appreciative of the USGA for the opportunity and look forward to playing in my hometown on a golf course I grew up on.”

No one has suffered more in the US Open than Mickelson, who needs only that major to complete the career Grand Slam. He holds the US Open record with six runner-up finishes, and two moments stand out.

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