DUBLIN, Ohio — An interesting week both on and off the golf course ended at Muirfield Village on Sunday for Phil Mickelson, who now turns his attention to practice at Pinehurst No. 2 the next two days before playing in the St. Jude Classic, the last event prior to the U.S. Open.
Mickelson, who on Friday became the subject of national headlines due to an FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into possible inside trading, finished with a lackluster 73 and was looking forward to his preparation for the U.S. Open, which begins June 12.
A victory at the U.S. Open, where Mickelson has been runner-up a record six times, would complete the career Grand Slam.
“From a golf standpoint, it wasn’t a bad week, as far as I started to hit the ball well,” Mickelson said. “I had, I thought, a successful week as far as a good stepping stone.
“Next week is when I have to put it together and play well. If I can play well, get in contention, it will give me some momentum for the Open. That’s what I need to do.”
Mickelson was never really in contention at the Memorial after finishing the opening round bogey-double-double to go from 5-under par to even. He never broke 70 over the four rounds.
His tie for 51st finish (when the round was complete) continued his longest stretch on the PGA Tour without a top-10 finish. Ranked 11th in the world, Mickelson, 43, has not had a top 10 since he tied for sixth at the Barclays in August. His last victory came in July at the Open Championship, his fifth major title.
Mickelson did tie for second in January at the European Tour event in Abu Dhabi but his best finish since was a tie for 11th at the Wells Fargo Championship, where a final-round 76 cost him a chance at victory.
“I really need to get in contention next week,” he said. “I’ll be trying really hard to get myself a run at it, to have a good tournament. Because I do need a little bit of that nervous feeling I had at Charlotte [Wells Fargo] the final round. I need to feel that again this week to really give myself a good chance at the U.S.Open.”
As has been his custom, Mickelson will scout the U.S. Open venue, which has been refurbished since the tournament was last played at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2005. Mickelson lost by one stroke to Payne Stewart there in 1999.
“I have notes from 2005 that are pretty extensive that regards how to play the holes, where to miss it, what the shots are like,” Mickelson said. “I don’t think much of that has changed. So maybe 75 or 80 percent is already done, and I’ll do fine-tuning because the course itself and the integrity of the course is the same.
“And it’s maybe just hitting those shots a few times as opposed to learning where to play to each pin and where you can go.”