Mickelson Returns To Shinnecock, Before Heading Out Until Thursday

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It took him to get rolling thanks to some loud sounds and the usual ebb and flow of conversation. But Phil Mickelson's Monday press conference ultimately yielded all sorts of fun stuff. The runner up here in 2004 is a favorite again this week.

I summarize the session's key moments here for Golfweek, including his plans to go off property until Thursday.

Mickelson is not making changes to his bag that are course specific, notes David Dusek. 

Eamon Lynch with the age old question for Phil and the U.S. Open, which Lefty answered well Monday.

There were two answers in full I thought were worth your time. The first came in response to a question I asked about the course since he was last year. Check out what he says about his notes for the course and what he documents. 

PHIL MICKELSON: So the notes that I had in 2004 are all accurate. In fact, they were 100 percent the same from 2004 as they are today. But the notes that I took weren't precise, like this putt breaks X amount. The notes were that you must stay here for this pin, you must go here for this pin, the odds of getting up and down from this spot are 50 percent, 10 percent.

So it just guided me on where I need to be for different pin placements and how I want to attack the hole, and that stayed the same from 2004.


The other answer involved the 2004 setup. This about says it all and should be noted for those who struggle with the USGA's direction. There are tournaments not fitting the setup idea of some, and there are tournaments where the outcome is tainted. In answer to ESPN's Tom Rinaldi asking about the value of protecting par.

I think it's a very fine line, and it's not a job I would want. And I know that the USGA is doing the best they can to find that line, and a lot of times they do, and sometimes they cross over it, but it's not an easy job. It's easy for all of us to criticize.

The difficulty is, when you dream of a championship as a child -- whether it's U.S. Open or the Masters, whatever event -- and you dream of winning these tournaments as a child and you work hours and hours and you fly in days and days and do all this prep work, and then you are left to chance the outcome, as opposed to skill, that's a problem. That's the problem that I have with it.

For instance, Saturday in 2004, the barometer for watering the 7th green was did anybody make double or triple? So if nobody double or triple bogeyed in the group in front of you, the green did not get water. If your group made a double or triple, the green got water for the group behind you.

That type of chance is -- it bothers me, given that we put so much into this tournament and the dreams and the hopes. And to have it left to something like that is disappointing. But I don't mean to discount anything, because I know what a tough job it is to find that fine line.