He faces long odds, but then there are few things Phil Mickelson likes more than that. Mickelson previously announced that he’d likely be unable to compete in this year’s U.S. Open at Wisconsin’s Erin Hills as he’ll be attending his daughter Amanda’s high school graduation the morning of the opening round.
At the time, Mickelson hadn’t completely given up on competing:
As you just read, Mickelson is not completely ruling out the event; in 2013, he flew from Pennsylvania to California for a family event as well, making it back the night before the first round. Should something similar present itself, look for Phil to do just that. (It helps to have a private plane.)
Mickelson is currently competing at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, but he hasn’t officially withdrawn yet, and the release of the U.S. Open tee times for next week may have offered a faint glimmer of hope. That’s because he’s set to tee off very late on Thursday in Wisconsin, which keeps alive the potential for a dramatic cross-country post-graduation flight.
As Golf Digest notes, though, there are still a few variables that would need to fall into place:
The first piece of the plan was given to Mickelson on Thursday when the USGA assigned the six-time U.S. Open runner-up a 2:20 p.m. tee time in the Central time zone, two hours ahead of California time, and the third from the last tee time of the first round.
The next piece will require some help from above. Mickelson has been watching the weather reports. Isolated thunderstorms are the forecast for Thursday.
Amanda’s graduation is scheduled for 10 a.m. West Coast time, noon in Wisconsin. Phil’s plan is to take off as close to noon as possible from a private airport in nearby Carlsbad.
Please, please, please let it rain next week, if only for the spectacle of Mickelson attempting to do this. Phil is at his base level a showman, and it’s possible he’d actually thrive off such an event. The U.S. Open is proceeding as if he’s coming, at least:
Phil is on the interview sched for 2:30 on Tuesday at Erin Hills. Either the USGA is trolling us, overly optimistic or knows something?
— Bob Harig (@BobHarig) June 9, 2017
It’s probably not going to happen. Phil will probably attend graduation, his tee time will come, an alternate will go off in his place, and we’ll all be forced to endure a Phil-less U.S. Open for the first time since 1993.
But as with anything Phil Mickelson-related, you never really know what’s going to happen.