OAKMONT, Pa. — Phil Mickelson played just two holes Saturday at the U.S. Open and missed the cut hours later, but limiting his day to that would ignore some of his unending impact.
Despite his short stay at Oakmont this weekend, Mickelson made an incredible memory for Pittsburgh native and U.S. Open rookie Mike Van Sickle, who made the field as an alternate.
Warming up before the start of their second rounds Saturday morning, Mickelson hit balls next to Van Sickle on the driving range. Jim Furyk was also nearby. Van Sickle, who also missed the cut, can take the story from here:
“The coolest thing happened this morning,” Van Sickle said. “Hitting balls on the range and some guy puts his Callaway balls way too close to me. I’m like what’s going on? I’m going to have to move down.”
That man was Mickelson.
“I go to walk off the range and Phil says, ‘Hey, hey, Mike.'” Van Sickle continued. “I walk back over and he shakes my hand. He said, ‘Hey, I’ve been following your golf career since you were in college. I just want to tell you — wish you the best of luck out there today.’
“That was by far the coolest moment of the week. So I told him, ‘You go find a couple (birdies) on the last.’ I knew he had two holes left, and I knew he was at seven over. So I told him, ‘You go get a couple coming in.’ And he was like, ‘You too. You go out there and do it.'”