USC-Aiken Grad Waits On Mickelson Decision

Nobody is paying closer attention to the “Phil Mickelson watch” than is Roberto Diaz.

The 30-year-old Tour player is the first alternate for the U.S. Open, which means he’ll get into the 156-player field at Erin Hills if any player pulls out.

The most likely to withdraw? Mickelson, who has said he’ll attend his daughter Amanda’s high school graduation Thursday. The ceremony starts at 10 a.m. Pacific time; Mickelson’s first-round tee time is 2:20 Central time.

He had not withdrawn as of Monday evening and was scheduled to appear at a pre-championship news conference Tuesday.

“Obviously, everybody is telling me that I might take Phil’s spot,” Diaz said after his practice round Monday. “With him, you never know. They might change the graduation. He might take a plane and get here in time, so you never know.”

Diaz, a four-time NCAA Division II all-American at the University of South Carolina-Aiken, lost a playoff in sectional qualifying and is hoping to play in his first major championship. He is allowed to play practice rounds at Erin Hills.

“It’s a feeling that I’m sure nobody wants to have,” he said of not knowing whether he’ll get in. “But it’s also a good feeling because I have a lot of percentages going my way. If one guy pulls out, I’ll be in.

“It would mean the world (to play). It’s like I’m in Disney. I was walking in and I was feeling butterflies just looking at everything. It’s the dream that everybody has as a golfer.”

Gary D'Amato. Milwuakee-Journal Sentinel


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