February 6, 2020 / 12:28 AM / 12 days ago

Mickelson says he won't accept special exemption into U.S. Open

FILE PHOTO: Jan 24, 2020; San Diego, California, USA; Phil Mickelson watches his shot from the 12th tee during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course - North Course. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Phil Mickelson said he would not accept a special exemption into this summer’s U.S. Open, where the 49-year-old American could achieve a career Grand Slam, Golf Channel reported on Wednesday.

Mickelson said he was confident he could earn his way into the tournament at Winged Foot and said he did not want any special treatment from the USGA.

“I won’t accept it,” he said.

“So, I am either going to get in the field on my own, or I’ll have to try to qualify. I’m not going to take a special exemption.”

Mickelson has finished second or tied for second six times at the U.S. Open, most recently in 2013, and he is determined to get over the hump on his own.

“I think I’ll get in the tournament. If I get in, I deserve to be there. If I don’t, I don’t. I don’t want a sympathy spot. If I am good enough to make it and qualify, then I need to earn my spot there.”

“Lefty” won the PGA Championship in 2005, the Open Championship in 2013 and took home green jackets from the Masters in 2004, 2006 and 2010, but has tumbled to world number 72 on the back of a sub-par 2019.

He will look to climb back into the top 60, the ranking of golfers who automatically qualify for the tournament, when he tees off Thursday at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which he won by three strokes last year to notch his 44th career PGA Tour victory.

Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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