Phil Mickelson’s chances of parachuting into Wisconsin minutes before his U.S. Open tee time tomorrow afternoon are growing increasingly slim, but the 46-year-old has yet to withdraw from the tournament. That’s because he doesn’t have to, despite a shifting forecast that’s now calling for clear skies on Thursday. In a press conference today, USGA Executive Director Mike Davis said that Phil Mickelson has until the very last moment to notify officials of a withdrawal.
Mickelson previously announced that he would be skipping Erin Hills to attend his daughter’s graduation in California. But the unfavorable logistics of jetting 2,000 miles in record time didn’t stop him from sending his caddie to the tournament to prepare for the remote possibility that he could still play. To make his 2:20pm tee time in Wisconsin, he’d need a significant weather delay.
“The way it would work, is he really doesn’t have to notify us really until the last minute,” Mike Davis said. “I’m sure if he plans on not coming he will give us plenty of notice, because it’s a three and a half hour flight from San Diego.” Davis also said that the USGA supported Mickelson’s decision to make the graduation ceremony his first priority. “I will tell you on behalf of the USGA, we applaud that decision. Families should always come first.” According to USGA regulations, “If a qualifier or an exempt player withdraws, he must notify the USGA promptly in order to insure an alternate fair opportunity to play.”
For now, first alternate Roberto Diaz will have to keep waiting, wondering if Mickelson can pull off an air travel miracle.