By Andrew Both
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Reuters) - Phil Mickelson had departed Torrey Pines before the leaders even teed off in the final round at the U.S. Open on Sunday.
Finishing at 11 over par was not the fairytale ending Mickelson had envisaged in his hometown Open at Torrey Pines, but he acknowledged that he just didn't have his best game for most of the week.
Mickelson thought he had fixed a swing issue in Friday's second round, and was hopeful of bottling the magic he conjured up to win the PGA Championship at the record age of 50 last month.
But it proved a false dawn, and rounds of 76 and 75 over the weekend left him not far from last among the 71 players who made the cut.
"Saturday I lost it," he said of his swing. "It happens. I just lost the timing, the rhythm got quick, and I started hitting it sideways, which you can't do out here."
And so Mickelson remains winless in the only major he needs to complete the career grand slam. He has won the Masters three times, the PGA Championship twice and the British Open once.
But the U.S. Open has proved a tantalisingly elusive beast, a record six runner-up finishes ample proof.
Mickelson still has the British Open and the rest of the PGA Tour season to play before, after which he will have time to put his feet up and reflect on his history-making PGA Championship.
"I'll look back and reminisce when the season's over and I
have some time in the off-season to not need to work on my game, and I'll still have that Wanamaker trophy I'll be looking at," he said, referring to the huge piece of silverware awarded to the PGA champion.
"And I'm still looking to add a friend to it along the line," added Mickelson, referring perhaps to the Old Claret Jug that will be handed to the British Open champion at Royal St George's on July 18.
(Reporting by Andrew Both, editing by Ed Osmond)