Mickelson leaves Merion for daughter's graduation, will take red-eye back to Merion Wednesday night

Phil-mickelson-redeye_640UPDATE: According to Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press, Phil Mickelson is due to arrive back at Merion from his daughter's eighth grade graduation at 4:15 a.m. Thursday, just in time for his 7:11 a.m. tee time.

While most Tour pros were slogging around a sloppy Merion, Phil Mickelson was sunny and dry in California. 
Mickelson issued a statement released by the USGA before his 2:30 p.m. Tuesday press conference stating he flew back to Rancho Santa Fe to be at his daughter's graduation. 
"My daughter Amanda is speaking at her eighth-grade graduation ceremony Wednesday and I always planned on being here for that," Mickelson said in a statement. "But since it was raining so much Monday and we didn't know if we'd even be able to play a sloppy course, I came back home (Monday) night to practice in great weather on my range and greens."
With Merion's set up providing several risk/reward shots, it's necessary to have a game plan heading into Thursday. Even though Mickelson won't play an official practice round, he was at the course for two days last week alongside Dave Pelz to learn the intricacies of the course. The course will play only slightly different from his trip, thanks to the recent rain. 

Mickelson is entering this year's Open with much more momentum than last year. He's coming off a second-place finish at last week's St. Jude Classic; at last year's Memorial he withdrew after the opening round due to mental fatigue.
The five-time U.S. Open runner-up is scheduled to tee off at 7:11 a.m. Thursday with Keegan Bradley and Steve Stricker. Mickelson says, "I'll be ready to go." (Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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by Kevin Cunningham