Phil Mickelson finally gets a tee time at U.S. Open venue Pinehurst

Sam Greenwood

Phil Mickelson practiced at the site of next week’s U.S. Open on Monday and planned another tour of the restored Pinehurst No. 2 venue on Tuesday before heading to Memphis for the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

Phil Mickelson has had a tough time of late -- tailed by the Feds probing insider-trading allegations and unable to book a tee time at the site of next week’s U.S. Open.

Well, fear not for the winner of five major titles who seeks, a week from Sunday, to end a string of six runner-up finishes at his country’s national championship. No, the FBI and SEC are still investigating the potential stock fraud but the most popular southpaw on the PGA Tour finally got a chance to get in some practice at the storied venue where he and golf's best (minus the new world No. 4, the rehabbing Tiger Woods) will tackle Pinehurst No. 2.

Mickelson, who believes that winning the only grand slam event missing from his resume will cap his career, joked earlier this year that the course was too busy to fit him in.

"I've tried to get down there three times now, and the course has been booked all three times," Mickelson quipped during a press conference at Quail Hollow in April. "So I don't know when I'll get down there."

After playing a practice round on Monday, Lefty shared his rave reviews for the job Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore did in restoring the track to its original design.

Mickelson, who planned another day of prep work at Pinehurst on Tuesday before heading to this week’s tour event in Memphis, continued his season-long struggles with a T49 finish at last week’s Memorial Tournament, where he came under heavy media scrutiny over the Federal insider-trading investigation.

Now, it’s all about Mickelson grabbing that career-first U.S. Open trophy.

"It wasn’t a bad week," he said after carding a final-round 1-over 73 at Muirfield Village. "I started to hit the ball well ... I started working the ball a lot more with some iron shots. I thought [it was] a good week as far as a steppingstone.

"Next week is when I have to put it together and play well," Mickelson added. "If I can do that, get in contention, it will give me some momentum for the Open. That’s what I need to do."

About Woods, who will miss his second straight major of the season after undergoing back surgery in March, dropping like a stone in the world rankings: despite his final-round collapse on Sunday, Bubba Watson leapfrogged Tiger into the third spot after his third-place finish at the Memorial.

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