If you’re a betting man, you’re probably taking Jordan Spieth, Jason Day or Rory McIlroy to win the U.S. Open.
David Dusek is not.
“I’m taking Mickelson,” the Golf Week senior writer said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I’m into winning money when I make my crummy bets, and Phil Mickelson – the birthday boy who turns 46 (on Thursday) – he’s going to pull the most Phil Mickelson move ever and just when you least expect it, Phil Mickelson is going to once again capture glory. I’m telling you now that’s going to happen.”
It hasn’t happened for Mickelson yet – at least not at the U.S. Open, where he has finished runner-up six times.
“It kills you,” Dusek said. “I was there at Winged Foot in 2006 when he whacked one right off the tent and messed it up. He should have won there. There were other opportunities that were really good. He could have won at Merion in 2013 when Justin Rose wins. But I look at it this way: He’s got six runner-up finishes in U.S Opens. That’s not a record that you want. He is right now ranked third in the PGA Tour in putting. He still hits it miles, still has tons of length off the tee, he’s got tons of versatility to his game – I think that it’s finally his time.”
Mickelson, with five major championships, needs the U.S. Open to complete the career slam. He has won the Masters three times (2004, 2006, 2010), the PGA Championship (2005), and, most recently, the British Open (2013).
He has not won a tournament this year.
“He has not won this year because I think that he doesn’t care, frankly, about a lot of the things that go on week in and week out,” Dusek said. “He gears his year toward the Masters, which he loves, and trying to finally win this U.S. Open. I think that everything in his game is right where it needs to be. He’s playing (Thursday) in the afternoon. Assuming the golf course starts to dampen up a little bit, Mickelson is in that wave where they’re going to get the benefit if we do get a little bit of rain. Mickelson, Jason Day, Adam Scott are tremendous ball strikers, great with the long game on the iron, good putters – Well, Scotty’s not a good putter but, Jason Day and Phil Mickelson certainly are. They could be the recipients of a great draw where they go out late on Thursday and early on Friday. They could end up having the best set up.”
One thing working against Mickelson? His age. Only three golfers have won a major at 46 or later.
“(Golfers) don’t win Opens at his age. You’re absolutely right,” Dusek said. “And we said back in ’86 that Nicklaus was past his prime. And look, Phil Mickelson is not Jack Nicklaus. I’m not putting him there. Nicklaus is the GOAT in our sport. But if you roll back the clock six or seven years and put Mickelson at age 37 with the exact same game that he’s got, people would love him. He’s already in the Hall of Fame. He has got everything else going for him. He’s playing now for the joy of the game. He certainly doesn’t need the money. He’s got more money than he’d ever know what to do with. He’s in a position, I think, mentally where he’s ready to go. I think that he’s prepared for this course. I think he’s got the book on this thing. I think he is as capable of handling what Oakmont is going to dish him as well as anybody out there right now.”