Mickelson initially held out hope that he could be in attendance for his daughter’s big day in California and still make his tee time in Wisconsin, provided Mother Nature add an assist in the form of a rain delay. The absence for a major is his first since the 2009 Open Championship.
Mickelson’s daughter, Amanda, is the senior class president at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad, Calif. She is expected to give a commencement speech.
Roberto Diaz of Mexico, who was the next alternate, was slated to take the afternoon tee time of Mickelson, who holds the U.S. Open record with six runner-up finishes. It’s the lone major preventing the 46-year-old Mickelson from a career Grand Slam.
Mickelson is a five-time major champion who claimed the third leg of the Grand Slam when he captured the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield in Scotland, but he has not won since.
In 2013, when Amanda graduated from middle school, Mickelson flew home from Philadelphia for the event, and then flew back and arrived at Merion Golf Club in Haverford, Pa., about two hours before his first-round tee time.
One of Mickelson’s six runner-up finishes in the U.S. Open came in 1999 at Pinehurst No. 2 in Pinehurst, N.C., where he wound up one stroke behind Payne Stewart — one day before Amanda was born.
Mickelson was wearing a pager and had he gotten word that Amanda was coming earlier, he said he would have withdrawn from the tournament and headed back to California for the birth of his first child.