Phil Mickelson misses cut in what could be final U.S. Open appearance

If Phil Mickelson's final hole in a U.S. Open was the par-5 ninth at Winged Foot on Friday ... well, it wasn't a very good way to go out.

He three-putted from 8 feet to make a bogey and shoot a second-round 74 after a first-round 79.

Mickelson was 13 over par and is heading home after missing the cut at the U.S. Open in Mamaroneck, New York.

And it was a disappointing return to Winged Foot, where his inglorious double-bogey finish in 2006 cost him a chance at the U.S. Open he has never won.

"I find that I've been playing very well at home, and I get out here where the penalty for a mis-hit is severe, and I find myself getting a little tight and a little steer-y, and playing some of my worst golf," Mickelson said. "And that's something I've got to work on and fix. When I go back home, I don't have the stress and I seem to play just fine, but I've got to be able to bring it out here under these conditions."

While unhappy with his play, Mickelson enjoyed his time at Winged Foot.

"It's fun for me to return, it's fun for me to come back here. I love the people here and I'm sorry they weren't able to come out to the tournament [due to the coronavirus pandemic]," Mickelson said. "But I think it's one of the best golf courses that we play and play majors on and it was fun for me to have to play and compete here one more time.''

The question for Mickelson now is will he get another shot at a U.S. Open? Mickelson is 50 years old and has not contended in the tournament since the sixth of his runner-up finishes occurred in 2013. Since then, he has had six chances to complete the career Grand Slam by winning the U.S. Open but never came close.

Mickelson missed the cut in 2016 and did not play in 2017.

Will he back at Torrey Pines next year? He could be as his U.S. Open career is not necessarily over.

At 53rd in the world, Mickelson is positioned to get an exemption into next year's tournament in his hometown of San Diego. The top 60 in the Official World Ranking at two different points next spring will be exempt, and that simply requires that Mickelson have some successes over the next six months. A good result at the Masters in November, for example, would help.

There is also the chance that the United States Golf Association would issue Mickelson a special exemption. Although Mickelson has never won the U.S. Open, he did win the U.S. Amateur, he's a five-time major winner and in the World Golf Hall of Fame.

The USGA over the years has issued numerous exemptions, chief among them to Jack Nicklaus (eight) and Arnold Palmer (six). Ernie Els received one in 2019 at Pebble Beach.

Earlier this year, Mickelson said he would turn down a special exemption, saying he wanted to qualify.

But would he turn down Torrey Pines?

There is also the possibility that Mickelson would take part in 36-hole qualifying to make the field. The USGA this year canceled local and sectional qualifying due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mickelson could also qualify for future U.S. Opens by winning the U.S. Senior Open. Steve Stricker is in the field this week as reigning Senior Open champion.

Tiger Woods and Gary Woodland are among those who joined Mickelson with missed cuts. Woods (+8) shot a 77 on Friday and Woodland, the defending champion, was 8 over and said he has been playing with a torn labrum in his left hip that he will have checked next week.

Defending PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa left a birdie putt 1½ inches short on the final hole to finish at plus-7 and miss the cut by one stroke.

Tommy Fleetwood (+8), Keegan Bradley (+8), Marc Leishman (+11), Brandt Snedeker (+12) and Jordan Spieth (+14) are among others to miss the cut, which is for the top 60 and ties.