There was the hospitality tent at Winged Foot.
There was Payne and the pager at Pinehurst.
There was a near-miss at Merion.
To list all of Phil Mickelson’s close calls, meltdowns and shortfalls at the U.S. Open is to peer into a particularly tortured chapter of the history of one of golf’s greatest champions.
More uplifting are the stories from Mickelson’s five tour victories at Pebble Beach — including one earlier this year.
It’s what makes Mickelson’s trip next week to Pebble all that much more tantalizing. It’s his chance to finally win the tournament he’s wanted so badly — maybe too badly — at a course teeming with history and good vibes for not only himself, but for his family and for the game itself. It’s a week during which the five-time major winner, who turns 49 on the day of the final round, will come face to face with what could be his last, best chance to win the U.S. Open.
And become the sixth player to complete the career Grand Slam.
“No,” Mickelson said when asked if he felt pressure to capture the final leg of the slam in order to enhance his legacy. “It’s just that it would be pretty special to be part of the elite players that have won all four. To me,…