BROOKLINE, Mass. — Phil Mickelson, six-time major champion, said one of the reasons he prefers the new LIV Golf Invitational series is because of its 54-hole events.
Mickelson will likely only have to play 36 holes at the US Open this week.
Mickelson’s return to competitive golf in the United States and his 52nd birthday did not go as planned during the first round of the US Open at the Country Club outside Boston on Thursday. He shot an 8 of 78 and was tied for 144th among 154 golfers when he left the course.
“I really enjoyed the test; I think it’s just a spectacular golf course,” Mickelson told reporters in the players’ parking lot after the game. “I really struggled with the putter the first few holes, just like I did last week.”
Playing for the first time in the United States since missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open in late January, Mickelson had bogeys on three of the first five holes, then made four putts from 12 feet for a double bogey at the par-3 sixth.
The highlight of his round came on the par-3 11th, when Mickelson birdied 8 feet, his only of the round. But then Mickelson fired his tee shot into the thick rough on the right side of the No. 12, needed two shots to get back on the fairway and carded a double bogey 6 to drop to 7.
Unless Mickelson drops very low in the second round on Friday, he thinks he will miss the weekend at his 31st US Open. This is his eighth attempt to try to become just the sixth man to complete a career Grand Slam in the Masters era; Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen were the others. Mickelson has been a US Open finalist a record six times.
Mickelson was playing at the US Open after being suspended indefinitely by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan a week ago. Mickelson was one of 17 tour players who made it to the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event in London without a conflicting event exit.
Mickelson reportedly received $200 million to sign with LIV Golf, which is financed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund. Mickelson said he plans to play all seven remaining LIV golf events this season, as well as the 150th Open Championship, which is scheduled for July 14-17 in St. Andrews, Scotland.
Mickelson, who has won 45 times on the PGA Tour and made nearly $95 million during his career, said he wants to retain his lifetime Tour membership.