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Phil's injury raises questions about Oakmont

Phil Mickelson, Memorial
Fred Vuich/SI
Phil Mickelson got a massage from Jim Weathers, a former Green Beret who has PGA Tour credentials as a trainer. Mickelson withdrew from the Memorial with an injured wrist.

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Phil Mickelson's grin was gone, replaced by a look of concern as he stood behind the ninth tee Thursday with his left hand extended while a massage therapist rubbed and pressed deeply into and around his left wrist.

Three holes later, Mickelson shook hands with his playing partners and headed for the clubhouse at Muirfield Village.

The question is whether his momentum going into the U.S. Open went with him.

Mickelson, coming off a victory two weeks ago at The Players Championship, withdrew from the Memorial with an injury to his left wrist that he suspects happened while practicing out of the deep rough at Oakmont this week.

"I think it happened at Oakmont," he told rules official Jon Brendle as they rode to the clubhouse in a cart, with Mickelson's wife sitting on his lap, and Shiatsu massage therapist Jim Weathers riding on the back.

"I don't think it's anything serious," Mickelson said. "I just can't put any pressure ... or grip the club."

The timing could not have been worse.

Other than a skiing accident in 1994 when Mickelson slammed into a tree and broke his leg, the three-time major champion has never been seriously injured. He began working with celebrated swing coach Butch Harmon a month ago, then followed two third-place finishes with a victory at The Players against the strongest field in golf.

The extent of the injury has not been determined.

"I'm not really worried - yet," Mickelson said. "It's never happened before, so I'm not really sure what to think of it."

He plans to see a doctor on Friday.

Mickelson said he aggravated his left wrist while chipping out of the rough at Oakmont, where the U.S. Open will be played in two weeks. He took four pain pills Thursday morning and felt fine, and he was particularly pleased with how he hit the ball on the range.

Everything changed on the second hole, when Mickelson hit a wedge from 137 yards, and pain shot up his arm.

"It got really aggravated," he said.

He played on, rubbing his wrist after almost every shot. It stung again after a 5-iron on the par-3 fourth, and while he was 2 under through six holes, the pain increased.

"He was holding his wrist all day," Ryan Palmer said, who played with Mickelson and J.B. Holmes. "He was holding a lot of shots."

Woods was not surprised to hear that it might have happened at Oakmont, especially considering how much time Mickelson pours into his practice rounds at major venues.

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