2021 U.S. Open scores: Phil Mickelson off to rough start as cell phone noise knocks him off game

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Seeking the ever-elusive career grand slam at the 2021 U.S. Open, Phil Mickelson on Thursday found himself distracted on numerous occasions by cell phone noise in the gallery. Mickelson was particularly irked on hole No. 13 after hearing a phone, as he was seen backing away from his shot in frustration. He eventually asked that phone to be put on silent, and an officer on site was summoned to address the distraction.

However, Mickelson later said he heard the noise even after that incident. He went on to bogey No. 13 after pushing his approach left into a bush, causing him to take a one-stroke penalty. He then recovered with a pin-seeking approach shot that ricocheted off the stick and into the thick rough greenside, exacerbating his misfortunes on a hole that presented its own non-golf challenges.

“It did it the next three or four shots thereafter, too, so it’s not like that’s the first time, it’s just that you had to ask three times,” Mickelson told ESPN of the noise disturbance. “Again, it’s part of the game. It’s part of professional golf. You have to be able to let that go and not let it get to you and be able to kind of compose yourself and regather your thoughts and so forth, but they certainly didn’t do me any favors, either.”

Mickelson finished his first round with a 4-over 75, eight strokes off the leader in the clubhouse. He had just one birdie all round, and his bogey on No. 13 was one of three he registered on the back.

Mickelson after his round did not make excuses for his outing, but he did complain about the phones and offered a lesson for future fans in the gallery hoping to get up close.

“It’s part of professional golf. You have to learn to deal with it,” he said. “I don’t understand why you just can’t turn that little button on the side into silent. I probably didn’t deal with it internally as well as I could have or as well as I need to. It’s part of playing the game out here at this level. Certainly, I didn’t do the best job of dealing with it.”

The 51-year-old Mickelson has finished runner-up at the U.S. Open six times in his career, most in the tournament’s history. It is the lone major he must win to complete the career grand slam.

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