Phil Mickelson won't accept exemption to play in U.S. Open

Phil Mickelson is famously missing a U.S. Open victory from his Grand Slam résumé.

He’s won the Masters three times, and the PGA Championship and Open Championship once each.

As for that elusive U.S. Open? He’s finished as runner-up six times in golf’s toughest test which has bared witness to some of his biggest disappointments. 2006 at Winged Foot remains one of the great collapses in the history of the game.

Mickelson won’t accept exemption

As of now, Mickelson wouldn’t qualify for this year’s tournament. And he says he doesn’t intend to apply for a special exemption that the USGA would likely make based on his career body of work.

“I won't accept it,” Mickelson told reporters on Wednesday. “So I am either going to get in the field on my own, or I'll have to try to qualify. I'm not going to take a special exemption.”

Exemptions are determined by the USGA and require an application by April 22.

Where Mickelson stands

Mickelson was speaking from the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the site of his most recent tour victory last season. Since then he’s fallen out of the top 50 in the world rankings for the first time in 26 years. He’s currently ranked 72nd, with the top 60 players earning a spot in the U.S. Open.

If he’s going to play at the U.S. Open without an exemption, he’ll have to crack the top 60 by June 15 or earn his way in by qualifying.

“I don't want a special exemption,” Mickelson continued. “I think I'll get in the tournament. If I get in, I deserve to be there. If I don't, I don't. I don't want a sympathy spot. If I am good enough to make it and qualify, then I need to earn my spot there.”

Mickelson missed the Presidents Cup roster in December for the first time in 25 years. He wants to play in the 2020 Ryder Cup, but has a similar approach, saying in January that if he doesn’t earn his way in with his play, he doesn’t deserve a spot on the roster.

The U.S. Open starts this year on June 18. The site?

Winged Foot.

The Mamaroneck, New York course will host the tournament for the first time since Mickelson’s double-bogey on 18 with a one-stroke lead allowed Geoff Ogilvy to hold up the U.S. Open Trophy in 2006.

Things will be a lot more interesting if Lefty is there.

If Phil Mickelson is going to exorcise his demons at Winged Foot, he wants to earn his way in. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

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