Phil Mickelson skips Open practice

ARDMORE, Pa. -- Phil Mickelson was not at Merion Golf Club on Tuesday preparing for the U.S. Open because he headed home to San Diego, where he will attend his daughter's eighth-grade graduation.

Mickelson, who turns 43 on Sunday, was at Merion last week for two days before heading to the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis, where he shot the last three rounds in the 60s and finished tied for second, two shots behind winner Harris English.

Mickelson arrived at Merion on Monday but was unable to get in much practice due to the severe weather conditions that twice caused United States Golf Association officials to close the course.

Mickelson said in a statement released Tuesday that he had always planned to attend his daughter Amanda's graduation ceremony. But because of the poor weather at Merion, he left early so he could practice at home.

"I was scheduled to return to San Diego after my 2:30 press conference Tuesday. I came back Monday," Mickelson said in the statement. "My daughter Amanda is speaking at her 8th grade graduation ceremony and I always planned on being here for that, but since it was raining so much Monday and we didn't know if we'd even be able to play a sloppy course, I came home last night to practice in great weather on my range and greens. I'll be ready to go Thursday."

The ceremony is scheduled to take place in the late afternoon Wednesday, and Mickelson plans to return to Merion sometime overnight. He has a 7:11 a.m. starting time on Thursday off the 11th tee, along with Steve Stricker and Keegan Bradley.

A four-time major winner who has captured 41 PGA Tour titles, Mickelson has a record five runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open.