Phil Mickelson Will Be Lucky to Make Cut at Merion in 2013 US Open

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IJune 10, 2013

HUMBLE, TX - MARCH 29:  Phil Mickelson reacts to a poor tee shot on the eighth hole during the second round of the Shell Houston Open at the Redstone Golf Club on March 29, 2013 in Humble, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Phil Mickelson posted a second-place finish on Sunday at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, but he'll struggle badly at Merion Golf Club's East Course in the 2013 U.S. Open. 

Mickelson has never won a U.S. Open, he's struggled to make the cut the past two years at this prestigious event and he nearly missed the cut at this year's Masters. This is bad news for Lefty, as this year's U.S. Open will be an even greater test. 

Merion's East Course is difficult under any circumstances. Jack Nicklaus once said, "Acre for acre, [Merion] may be the best test of golf in the world."

The work the USGA has done to get the course ready for this major championship will damn Mickelson's chances.

Extremely tight fairways, deep, thick rough, deep bunkers and tiny greens are characteristics you'll notice right off the bat when you watch the tournament this weekend. These characteristics are not compatible with Mickelson's game, however.

Here are a few reasons why Mickelson will struggle to make the cut this weekend at Merion in the 2013 U.S. Open.


Tee Shots

Accuracy off the tee will be absolutely critical to shooting low scores.

Mickelson isn't adept at getting the ball into the fairway on normal weeks, hitting just 53.83 percent of fairways off the tee in 2013 (No. 160 on the PGA Tour). 

Normally, Mickelson gets away with his horrendous accuracy issues because of his ability to work magic around the greens. Even if his second shot from the rough doesn't reach the green, he's usually in great shape to make par.

The shaggy "U.S. Open rough" that will be his welcoming party on wayward shots won't allow him the opportunity to even get close to the green on many of his second shots, which will somewhat negate his brilliant short game.


Long Par Threes and Long Approach Shots

On the menu this weekend is a course riddled with monstrous holes.

There are three par threes 236 yards or longer, three par fours 487 yards or longer and a behemoth of a par five that measures in at 628 yards.

Mickelson isn't accurate with his long irons, hitting just 36.59 percent of greens in regulation from over 200 yards out (No. 149 on the PGA Tour). 

Combined with his propensity to hit the ball into the rough off the tee, Merion's East Course is likely to chew Mickelson up and spit him out by the time Friday afternoon rolls around and the cut line is announced.



Mickelson has always been an all-or-nothing golfer.

He takes an aggressive approach nearly 100 percent of the time, which has really hurt him in past tournaments. He had the 2006 U.S. Open in the bag but chose hit driver off the tee instead of playing it safe, eventually losing to Geoff Ogilvy by one stroke.

When he's on, he's really on. Lefty can shoot as low as anyone, under optimum circumstances. He shot a 60 earlier this year in the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which is the lowest round on the PGA Tour thus far.

But Merion won't provide Mickelson with optimum circumstances. 

The course is relentlessly unforgiving and requires a cautious approach, and nobody should be shocked if Mickelson fails to make the cut on Friday.


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