If you’re mulling over your U.S. Open punts, remove Phil Mickelson from your consideration. Lefty announced he doesn’t plan on teeing it up at Erin Hills. The reason? His daughter Amanda is graduating from high school—and she’s giving the commencement address.
The Pacific Ridge School’s commencement ceremony is scheduled for the morning of June 15, which is during the first round of the U.S. Open.
He’s yet to withdraw officially, but as Mickelson said, “barring something unforeseen, I won’t be there.” “Something unforeseen,” would be a situation like a washed out first round with the opening round of play beginning on Friday—a remote possibility indeed.
“I wanted to make sure they [the USGA] had enough notice to accommodate it…So that’s why I’m saying something today, but it doesn’t look good for me playing. But I’m really excited about this moment in our family’s life,” Mickelson told reporters.
Mickelson hasn’t missed a major championship since the 2009 Open Championship when his wife was battling cancer. He’ll turn 47 during the tournament at Erin Hills, his long, unfortunate history of runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open is well documented.
Still, even with Father Time starting at Mickelson through the rearview, he seems comfortable with his decision to skip the championship.
Regarding the graduation, Mickelson said: It’s one of those things you just show up. You just need to be there. It wasn’t really something that we discussed, because it really wasn’t much of a decision.”
Like his history of near-misses at the USGA’s major, Mickelson’s series of scheduling conflicts during the tournament is part of “Lefty the family man” lore. He wore a beeper at Pinehurst in 1999, as his wife was on the verge of giving birth. At the 2012 U.S. Open, Mickelson flew home for Amanda’s eighth-grade graduation, catching a flight back just in time for the opening round.
And speaking of Amy, here’s what she told Karen Crouse about her husband’s decision. “Phil desperately wants to win the U.S. Open. “I would have totally understood if he needed to play…We could have done a video or this or that.”
A “video or this or that” isn’t something Phil Mickelson, the father, is comfortable with. Even the left-handers detractors have to respect that.