Mickelson gets special invite for US Open

Phil Mickelson has been given a USGA exemption to gun for the US Open title that's long eluded him.
Phil Mickelson has been given a USGA exemption to gun for the US Open title that's long eluded him.

Phil Mickelson will play in the US Open next month, giving him another chance to win the one major tournament that has eluded him during his Hall of Fame career.

On Friday, Mickelson accepted a special exemption from the United States Golf Association to play in the tournament from June 17 to 20 at Torrey Pines, near where he was raised in the San Diego area.

Mickelson, who'll turn 51 the day before the tournament starts, has been the runner-up six times in his 29 appearances in the tournament.

"Winning the US Open has been a lifelong and elusive dream, and I've come close so many times," Mickelson said in a statement.

"You can't win if you don't play. I'm honoured and appreciative of the USGA for the opportunity and look forward to playing in my hometown on a golf course I grew up on."

Mickelson has won the Masters three times (2004, 2006, 2010) and has one win each at the PGA Championship (2005) and The Open Championship (2013).

Two weeks ago, he said he wasn't sure he would accept an exemption for the US Open if offered.

Doing so gives him a chance to win, but also an opportunity to erase the memory of the 2020 event at Winged Foot when he was 13-over par after two rounds and did not make the cut.

Mickelson's first runner-up finish came in 1999, when Payne Stewart holed his putt on 18 to win at Pinehurst. The most recent one came in 2013 to Justin Rose at Merion.

His six second places are the most runner-up finishes of any player to never win the US Open.

"Phil Mickelson's incredible USGA playing record and overall career achievements are among the most noteworthy in the game's history," USGA CEO Mike Davis said in a statement.

"We are thrilled to welcome him to this year's US Open at Torrey Pines."

Australian Associated Press