Golf: Phil Mickelson accepts special exemption into US Open

Phil Mickelson will play in the US Open next month, giving him another chance to win the one major tournament that has eluded him during his Hall of Fame career.

Mickelson has accepted a special exemption from the United States Golf Association to play in the tournament June 17-20, at the South Course at Torrey Pines, near where he was raised in the San Diego area.

He will turn 51 the day before the tournament starts.

He has been the runner-up six times in his 29 appearances in the tournament.

"Winning the US Open has been a lifelong and elusive dream, and I've come close so many times," Mickelson said. 

"You can't win if you don't play. I'm honoured and appreciative of the USGA for the opportunity and look forward to playing in my hometown on a golf course I grew up on."

Mickelson has won the Masters Tournament three times (2004, 2006, 2010) and has one win each at the PGA Championship (2005) and The Open Championship (2013).

Two weeks ago, he said he wasn't sure he would accept an exemption for the US Open if offered. 

Doing so gives him a chance to win, but also an opportunity to erase the memory of the 2020 event at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck.

Mickelson was 13-over par after two rounds and did not make the cut.

Mickelson's first runner-up finish came in 1999, when Payne Stewart holed his putt on the 18th to win at Pinehurst. 

The most recent one came in 2013 to Justin Rose at Merion. 

His six second places are the most runner-up finishes of any player to never win the US Open.

"Phil Mickelson's incredible USGA playing record and overall career achievements are among the most noteworthy in the game's history," USGA CEO Mike Davis said.

 "We are thrilled to welcome him to this year's US Open at Torrey Pines."