Phil Mickelson revealed he would not accept a special exemption into this year’s U.S. Open, saying it would be a “sympathy spot”.
Mickelson, who turns 50 in June, endured a difficult 2019, missing nine cuts in 23 events to drop down the rankings.
The five-time major champion, still only missing a U.S. Open to complete a career Grand Slam, is ranked 72nd and needs to crack the top 60 leading into the event, or win the Masters, US PGA Championship or The Players Championship, or go through qualifying.
Mickelson, a six-time runner-up at the U.S. Open, said he wanted to earn his place at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York.
“I won’t accept it so I’m either going to get in the field on my own or I’ll have to try to qualify, I’m not going to take a special exemption,” he told a news conference on Wednesday ahead of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Asked why, the American responded: “I just won’t.”
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 5, 2020
Mickelson added: “They’ve never been an organisation that likes to give out special exemptions, I don’t want a special exemption.
“I think I’ll get into the tournament. If I get in, I deserve to be there and if I don’t, I don’t.
“I don’t want a sympathy spot. If I am good enough to make it and qualify then I need to earn my spot there.”