Phil Mickelson plans to miss this month’s U.S. Open to attend his daughter Amanda’s high school graduation ceremony, the five-times major champion told reporters on Saturday.
The news means Mickelson's quest to complete a career grand slam seems likely to have to wait another year.
Six times runner-up at the only major championship he has never won, the 46-year-old has not officially withdrawn, but it seems only a first-round weather washout or a late date change of the graduation ceremony could allow him to participate.
The first round of the U.S. Open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin will be on Thursday, June 15, while Amanda’s graduation ceremony is in southern California that same morning.
“My daughter is … the school president. She’ll be giving the commencement speech for the school and I’m going to be there,” Mickelson told reporters after the third round of the Memorial tournament in Dublin, Ohio.
“Unfortunately, it comes around 10 in the morning Pacific (12 PM CT) so there’s just really no way to make it, no matter what the tee time is.
“It’s obviously the tournament I want to win the most … but this is one of those moments you look back on life and just don’t want to miss it.”
Mickelson said he had notified the U.S. Golf Association (USGA) of his decision well in advance so that the organising body as well as his replacement would not be caught off guard.
“We applaud and appreciate the fact that he is being pro-active so that the USGA can make any appropriate adjustments,” USGA executive director Mike Davis said in a statement.
“There’s no sense in withdrawing today but I want the alternate to know,” Mickelson said, still holding out a glimmer of hope he will be able to play.
“You never know. Maybe something freaky will happen … something happens with the commencement time-wise.
“(Or) if there was even a two-or-three hour (weather delay at the golf) I could very possibly make it.”
A U.S. Open victory would make Mickelson only the sixth golfer to win the grand slam of U.S. Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and U.S. PGA Championship, joining Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ed Osmond)