Phil Mickelson at US Open will need ‘minor miracle’ to compete for title, Paul Azinger says

Phil Mickelson at US Open will need ‘minor miracle’ to compete for title, Paul Azinger says

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Phil Mickelson probably won’t be able to make the U.S. Open cut and compete for his first win at the major tournament, former star golfer Paul Azinger said Sunday.

Mickelson is coming off a poor performance at the first 54-hole LIV Golf tournament at Centurion Golf Club in London and hasn’t competed against top PGA Tour stars in several months. Not to mention, The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, is one of the toughest courses in the sport.

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Phil Mickelson gives a thumbs up to cheering fans during his practice round at the Brookline Country Club on June 14, 2022.

Phil Mickelson gives a thumbs up to cheering fans during his practice round at the Brookline Country Club on June 14, 2022. (John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

“I predict that, if Phil’s missing the cut, like on Friday afternoon or something, it can get pretty rough on him,” Azinger told reporters during a media availability, via Golf.com. “I just think – this is a big step these guys have made. They’ve changed the game forever probably. But I agree, he is so popular. … And people do forgive. If it’s Phil Mickelson – I’ve always loved Phil Mickelson. He’s always been great to my kids. I’ll always appreciate him for that.”

Mickelson has taken a lot of heat for participating in LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed league rivaling the PGA Tour, but Azinger said he didn’t think “Lefty” was going to persevere and win the tournament.

Paul Azinger watches his tee shot during the 91st PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club on Aug. 13, 2009, in Chaska, Minnesota.

Paul Azinger watches his tee shot during the 91st PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club on Aug. 13, 2009, in Chaska, Minnesota. (David Cannon/Getty Images)

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“I don’t necessarily agree with everything he’s ever done, that’s for sure, but if he does get in contention, it would be a miracle, I really think. A minor miracle that that guy could get in contention with all that’s been going on. But we’ll cover it fairly, I’ll tell you that,” Azinger added.

Mickelson has never won the U.S. Open. He has a five-year exemption into the tournament and in all likelihood will use those chances to capture the elusive title. He finished in second place 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2013.

Phil Mickelson looks on from the 16th tee during a practice round prior to the 122nd U.S. Open on June 15, 2022, in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Phil Mickelson looks on from the 16th tee during a practice round prior to the 122nd U.S. Open on June 15, 2022, in Brookline, Massachusetts. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Over the weekend, Mickelson finished LIV Golf’s first tournament tied for 33rd and 10-over par.

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He hasn’t competed against other PGA Tour players at a major since last year. He took a break from the sport after backlash he received from seemingly brushing off Saudi Arabia human rights violations in an interview about why he chose to play for the controversial league.

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