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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 245
“I mean obviously, it's a tournament that I want to win the most,” Mickelson said. “The only way to win is if you play and have a chance. But this is one of those moments where you look back on life and you just don't want to miss it.” It could see him forgo his final shot at the prize he covets so much. After all, no-one has ever won the US Open at 46 years old. Hale Irwin, at 45 when he won the title for the third and final time in 1990, is as close as you’ll get in the 122-year history of the event. And barring any unforeseen weather delay or exceptional circumstance it will remain that way. The last time the golfing world saw something remotely like this was in 2013 when Hunter Mahan pulled out of the $1 million Canadian Open – while leading on Saturday, it must be noted – to jet from the course to be beside his wife and former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Kandi Mahan for the birth of their daughter. Mahan has won one PGA Tour title since. Yet the magnitude of this major to Mickelson, with all due respect to the Canadian Open, is far greater than that of the tournament Mahan skipped. When Mickelson was asked about requesting his daughter’s school to move the commencement date, he replied: “I wouldn't put them in that situation.” Somebody, namely Derek Deminsky of Golf Better Tuscaloosa, did though. His online petition drew a response too, but the 1200 supporters who signed it will not get their wish, the school said. Although Australians may recall Mickelson’s near-miss of 2006 at Winged Foot more immediately, a dramatic tournament that also saw Colin Montgomerie come agonisingly close to a maiden major, the most memorable of Mickelson six close-calls will almost certainly remain the 1999 loss. “I go back and every year at the US Open, I think back about that '99 Open,” Mickelson said. “The birth of your child, any child, but especially your first child is the most emotional event you can ever experience and share together with your wife. And I always think about that at the US Open, I think about Payne Stewart and I can't believe how quickly time has gone by.” It took Mickelson another five years after that to break through for his first major, winning the 2004 Masters as a 32-year- old. With his PGA Championship win the subsequent year, another two victories at the Masters, and 2013’s come-from-the-clouds Open Championship win that could prove his opus, a US Open title is all that remains. Still, the perennial go-to storyline of this US Open is off this year. Now the stage is handed entirely to the 'twentysomething' brigade of Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy to write more history. Or, dare we say it, Garcia to prove his wronged doubters increasingly incorrect. “It doesn't look good for me playing,” Mickelson said. “But I'm really excited about this moment in our family's life.” For Mickelson, that US Open Championship Trophy can wait. Perhaps even forever. E “I MEAN OBVIOUSLY, IT'S A TOURNAMENT THAT I WANT TO WIN THE MOST...THE ONLY WAY TO WIN IS IF YOU PLAY AND HAVE A CHANCE. BUT THIS IS ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS WHERE YOU LOOK BACK ON LIFE AND YOU JUST DON'T WANT TO MISS IT.”
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