When Tiger Woods announced his withdrawal from this month's US Open, Phil Mickelson seems to have gathered all those punters that were backing the injured former world number one. The left-handers odds significantly shortened following Tiger's announcement but the US Open has hardly been the happiest of hunting grounds for the four-time major winner. Without a win in this tournament since making his debut in 1990, it's been a case of 'close but no cigar' for Phil. On five occasions Mickelson has finished painfully close in second place, without ever going on to triumph.
Last year at Pebble Beach and it was a similar story once again for the lefty, finishing the weekend in a tie for fourth place as Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell lifted the trophy. Mickelson, who turns 41 on the tournament's opening day, will be well aware that his chances of finally claiming that elusive US Open title could be running out. The last time Mickelson played the tournament was held at the Congressional Club he didn't enjoy the best week, finishing way down the field in 43rd back in 1997. Those following the golf odds may want to bear this in mind.
Despite his troubles back in 1997, this course is one that should suit Mickelson's style and game. The additional par five and shorter par fours will be where the experienced American will need to take advantage of his strengths, barring too many erratic drives. Mickelson will need to avoid falling too far off the lead in the early stages, the unforgiving Congressional is a hard course to play when chasing. Any mistakes are usually highlighted by this tough course and the US Open golf odds show how hard things will be.
2011 hasn't started off like Mickelson would have envisaged, with only a single victory to his name, coming at the Shell Houston Open before April's Masters at Augusta. The opening major of the year at Augusta wasn't a successful week for Mickelson, a disappointing tournament resulting in the left-hander finishing was off the lead in 27th. That lack of any real form doesn't seem to have affected his reputation in the big tournaments however, and many believe that this year could well finally be Mickelson's time to win the US Open.
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