Brooklyn, Mass. Six-time lead champion Phil Mickelson said one of the reasons he prefers the new LIV Golf Invitational Series is its 54-hole events.
Mickelson will likely 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 in the first round of the US Open at The Country Club outside Boston on Thursday. He had 8 cards over 78 and was tied for 144th place out of 154 golfers when he got off the court.
“I really enjoyed the test; I think it’s just a great golf course,” Mickelson told reporters in the players’ car park after the tour. “I really struggled with the racket the first few holes, just like I did last week.”
Playing for the first time in the U.S. since missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open in late January, Mickelson had a bogey on three of the first five holes and then made four goals from 12 feet for a double bogey in the third.
The highlight of his tour came in Round 11, when Mickelson drowned an 8-foot bird, the only one of the tour. But then Mickelson pulled his tee into the thick roughness on the right at No. 12, needed two shots to get back into the runway and drew a double bogey 6 to drop to 7.
Unless Mickelson goes really low in the second round on Friday, he’s missing out on his 31st US Open weekend. It’s his eighth attempt in trying to become only the sixth man to complete his Grand Slam career in the Era of the Masters. Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Jane Sarrazin were others. Mickelson was runner-up at the US Open six times.
Mickelson was playing at the US Open after he was suspended indefinitely by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan a week earlier. Mickelson was one of 17 players on the Tour who competed in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event in London without a conflicting event release.
Mickelson reportedly received $200 million to subscribe to LIV Golf, which is funded by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. Mickelson said he plans to play in the seven remaining LIV Golf events this season, in addition to the 150th Open, scheduled for July 14-17 in St Andrews in Scotland.
Mickelson, who has won 45 times on the PGA Tour and grossed nearly $95 million over his career, said he wants to keep his Tour membership for life.