Mickelson has stayed committed to his golf even as reports
swirled last week that U.S. investigators were looking into possible
insider trading by the five-time major winner, billionaire activist
investor Carl Icahn and Las Vegas gambler William Walters.
The 43-year-old Mickelson, who confirmed the investigation on
Saturday but denied any wrongdoing, was a runnerup to Harris English
last year at TPC Southwind before finishing second behind Englishman
Justin Rose in the U.S. Open at Merion.
Hoping to go one better in both events this time around, Mickelson
spent time at Pinehurst No. 2 earlier this week before heading to
Memphis ready to attack the golf course as the tournament's headline
He comes in without great form to speak of, having not posted a top
10 finish on the U.S. tour this season.
Should he fail to do so this week it would be the first time in his
professional career to arrive at a national championship without a
top 10 on his early season record.
The last time he headed to the U.S. Open without a good result was
1992 as a fresh-faced 21-year-old amateur.
"I would have liked to have better performances this year. I need to
get four good rounds and get some momentum for next week,” Mickelson
told reporters following his Pro-am round Wednesday.
“I love this golf course as a preparation for next week. The areas
around the greens, which are critical next week at Pinehurst, are
very similar here.
“You have the low cut Bermuda grass with the grain cut into you. We
have a lot of delicate chip shots, it’s really a great place to get
ready and I’m happy I am here.
“I think it greatly lifted my chances last year heading to the Open
and I hope it is the same again.”
Mickelson had his moments at last week's Memorial Tournament in
Ohio, including a hot start in the opening round to be five-under
through 15 holes, before finishing bogey, double-bogey,
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Similar rollercoaster efforts continued through the tournament to
leave him in a tie for 49th.
“I need to finish off the rounds. I feel like I'm hitting good
shots. I have to finish the rounds off and shoot a number. I don't
feel like the parts are off, but the score has been off,” he said.
“I have to just stay sharp, salvage shots, fight through each round
and see if I can finish strong.
“Last week I finished a lot of the rounds very poorly and now I have
to get some momentum for next week and the best way to do that is to
shoot low numbers.
“I think there is a chance to go low here."
After winning last year's British Open, Mickelson is just a U.S.
Open win away from the career grand slam. He has famously missed out
with six runnerup finishes, the first at the 1999 U.S. Open at
Pinehurst No. 2.
Joining Mickelson at the Memphis event is defending champion
English, big-hitting Dustin Johnson, the 2012 winner, and former
U.S. Open winners Webb Simpson (2012) and Graeme McDowell (2010).
(Reporting by Ben Everill; Editing by Ian Ransom)
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