Golfer Phil Mickelson skips U.S. Open practice for daughter's graduation

The Globe and Mail

Phil Mickelson of the U.S. reacts to applause after hitting his tee shot on the 11th hole during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open golf championship at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Penn., June 13, 2013. (MATT SULLIVAN/REUTERS)

Who knows if Phil Mickelson will win the U.S. Open this weekend, but he’s definitely in the running for Father of the Year honours. Seriously, if they gave out a trophy for Father’s Day, Phil the Thrill would already be hoisting it.

The 42-year-old golfer skipped practice at Merion Golf Club, in Pennsylvania, to fly home to San Diego to attend his daughter’s Grade 8 graduation ceremony.

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It’s been pouring at Merion, the site of this year’s open, all week, which bumped up Mickelson’s timing.

“I was scheduled to return to San Diego after my 2:30 press conference Tuesday. I came back Monday,” he said in a statement. “My daughter Amanda is speaking at her eighth grade graduation ceremony and I always planned on being here for that, but since it was raining so much Monday and we didn’t know if we’d even be able to play a sloppy course, I came home last night to practice in great weather on my range and greens. I’ll be ready to go Thursday.”

With the ceremony on Wednesday and a tee time at 7:11 a.m. back in Pennsylvania on Thursday, Mickelson was clearly willing to sacrifice a well-rested beginning to a major tournament in order to be there for his daughter.

As USA Today reports, Mickelson’s flight returned him to the tournament at about 4:30 Thursday morning, less than three hours before he was set to tee off.

Mickelson has won four majors, and has been runner-up at the U.S. Open a record five times.