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Mickelson Earns Exemptions into Next Five U.S. Opens

May 24, 2021 Liberty Corner, N.J. By Jeff Altstadter, USGA
Fan favorite Phil Mickelson will be teeing it up at Torrey Pines for a second time in a U.S. Open. The San Diego native grew up playing the course. (Chris Keane/USGA)

On May 14, Phil Mickelson received a special exemption from the USGA into the 121st U.S. Open Championship, which will be conducted June 17-20 on the South Course at Torrey Pines in San Diego, Calif.

Nine days later, Lefty assured himself of invitations to the succeeding four U.S. Opens as well. Mickelson, who will turn 51 on the eve of the championship at Torrey Pines, became the oldest major champion in history on May 23 with his two-stroke triumph in the PGA Championship on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort.

That major title – the sixth of Mickelson’s storied career – comes with a five-year exemption into the U.S. Open. So in addition to this year’s championship at Torrey Pines, Mickelson will also be exempt for the U.S. Opens played in 2022 at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.; in 2023 at The Los Angeles Country Club; in 2024 on Course No. 2 at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, site of the first of his record six runner-up finishes, to Payne Stewart in 1999; and in 2025 at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club.

“Phil Mickelson’s incredible USGA playing record and overall career achievements are among the most noteworthy in the game’s history,” said USGA CEO Mike Davis in announcing the special exemption for 2021. “We are thrilled to welcome him to this year’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.”

Mickelson has recorded ten top-10 finishes in his 29 U.S. Open starts. He won the 1990 U.S. Amateur Championship and was a member of the 1989 and 1991 USA Walker Cup Teams and the 1990 USA World Amateur Team.  

“Winning the U.S. Open has been a lifelong and elusive dream, and I’ve come close so many times,” said Mickelson, a San Diego native. “You can’t win if you don’t play. I’m honored and appreciative of the USGA for the opportunity and look forward to playing in my hometown on a golf course I grew up on.”

Mickelson is one of 12 players to capture three of the four men’s major titles, and he seeks to join Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods and become just the sixth in history to win all four majors. Among Mickelson’s 55 career professional victories are six major titles – the 2004, 2006, and 2010 Masters Tournaments, the 2005 and 2021 PGA Championships, and the 2013 British Open Championship. In addition, Mickelson has represented the USA on 12 Ryder Cup teams and 12 Presidents Cup squads. 

The 121st U.S. Open will be the third USGA championship to be played on the South Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course, which hosted the 1998 U.S. Amateur Public Links won by Trevor Immelman, and the 2008 U.S. Open memorably won by Tiger Woods in a 19-hole Monday playoff over Rocco Mediate. The U.S. Open will be the 85th USGA championship conducted in the state of California. Two weeks earlier, the 76th U.S. Women’s Open will be played at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.