Five-time major champion Phil Mickelson recently played Pinehurst No. 2 in preparation for next week’s U.S. Open. Lefty spoke to Pinehurst.com about the Coore & Crenshaw restoration, “I think everybody loves it. Everybody loves what Crenshaw and Coore did here. They’re the best at what they do, and they took a real gem from Donald Ross, and they left the greatness of it, which are the greens, and they restored the shot-making value that was originally intended.”
The six-time U.S. Open runner-up went on to talk about course strategy, “It is so fun to play, and strategic, you have so many decisions you can make now off the tee, what club you hit. And around the greens, so much skill and touch is involved with your short game to salvage shots, as opposed to the hit it and hope out of the thick heavy rough.”
Short-game guru Dave Pelz can be seen in the Pinehurst.com video as Mickelson works on chip shots around the greens. Phil has the edge when it comes to scrambling, so it could be a special U.S. Open for the 43-year-old.
Mickelson does not believe the waste areas that have replaced the heavy rough around the fairways will change the character of the U.S. Open, “I don’t think it’s going to be much different of a U.S. Open than what you are used to seeing because the challenge is still hitting the fairways, and the challenge is still recovering shots out of the rough and salvaging pars. The greens are so penalizing that if you are not in the fairway, getting the ball on the [putting] surface is almost impossible.”
Here is the full interview with Phil Mickelson at Pinehurst No. 2, courtesy of Pinehurst.com:
At the Memorial last week, Phil finished T49 and continues to be in search of his first Top-10 of the season. In the post-tournament press conference, he was both positive and realistic, “From a golf standpoint, it wasn’t a bad week, as far as I started to hit the ball well. And I struggled a little bit in some areas. That 16th hole, man, that hole has got my number.” Phil added that he will be using a lot of his notes from the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, “I have notes from 2005 that are pretty extensive that regards how to play the holes, where to miss it, what the shots are like. I don’t think much of that has changed. So I won’t have to do but — 75 or 80 percent is already done, and I’ll do fine tuning because the course itself and the integrity of the course is the same.”
Mickelson will have his final tune-up at the FedEx St. Jude Classic this weekend where he hopes to get the birdies rolling, “If I can play well, get in contention, it will give me some momentum for the Open. That’s what I need to do.”
The Memorial was a tough tournament off the course as well. Phil is being questioned by authorities regarding an insider trading investigation. He says he has done nothing wrong, and I completely take his word for it, but the timing is unfortunate because Phil is one U.S. Open away from being a top-10 golfer of all time. I hope he is able to focus on the golf, and give the crowd a show next week.
—Bernie D’Amato (@bdamato711)