The 117th U.S. Open, one of the largest and most important events in professional golf, is going to be played without one of its biggest superstars: Phil Mickelson.
He isn’t boycotting it, he wasn’t suspended, he isn’t injured or sick. In fact, most people were anxious to see him play. While I’m sure Mickelson wanted to tee off, the six-time U.S. Open runner up decided to put his family first and attend his daughter’s high school graduation in California, instead.
This is a big deal. Mickelson is unquestionably the best golfer in the last two decades behind Tiger Woods. He’s won 49 professional tournaments, including three masters, one British Open, and one PGA tour – but he’s never won the U.S. Open. A win at the Open would make him only the sixth man to win a career Grand Slam.
Personally, I think his decision to withdraw from the Open and to put his family first is awesome and a credit to his character and him as a father. As dads, we need to try and balance our work with our home lives and all too often work is what wins.
In an interview with the New York Times, Mickelson said his decision to skip the Open to attend the graduation, where his daughter Amanda is making a speech, was an easy one.
“As I look back on life, this is a moment I’ll always cherish and be glad I was present,” said Mickelson.
In the same article, Mickelson’s wife, Amy, said she was proud of her husband.
“Phil desperately, desperately wants to win the U.S. Open,” she said. “I would have totally understood had he needed to play the U.S. Open. We could have done a video or this or that.”
This isn’t the first time Mickelson has put his family ahead of golf. In 1999, Amy was pregnant with Amanda and Mickelson promised that he would leave the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, regardless of his position on the leaderboard if she were to go into labor – which she did and he left shorty after finishing second behind Payne Stewart.
Eighteen years later, Mickelson is continuing to keep his promise to put his family first. Keep up the great work Phil and thank you for being a shining example of what a father should be.