He has finished in second place a record six times, which includes coughing away the championship at Winged Foot in 2006.
But on Thursday, Mickelson faced a new hardship at the U.S. Open: heckling.
At the par-3 9th hole at Los Angeles Country Club, Mickelson faced a 28-foot putt for birdie.
When he approached his ball, a fan, who donned a sombrero, made some disparaging remarks directed towards Mickelson, which forced the six-time major winner to back off his putt.
Mickelson proceeded to two-putt for par and carded a 1-under 69.
Weird scene on 9 green — Phil Mickelson was standing over his putt when a guy in a sombrero started shouting from the bleachers. Kept going for a solid 30 seconds. Long story short…he’s not a fan.
Here’s the grainiest photo of all time right before security arrived: pic.twitter.com/e2eTzScqqD
— Dylan Dethier (@dylan_dethier) June 16, 2023
According to Bob Harig of Sports Illustrated, this fan referenced LIV Golf and other questionable parts of Mickelson’s past.
Dan Hicks, the lead NBC play-by-play announcer for the U.S. Open, alluded to this incident on the broadcast, saying, “We are receiving reports from our cameramen that fans are heckling Mickelson.”
As the golfing world knows by now, Mickelson has been a key player in developing LIV Golf.
Consequently, Mickelson took a leave of absence in the spring of 2022, as he skipped out on the Masters and the PGA Championship.
Mickelson returned to major championship competition at the 2022 U.S. Open at Brookline, where he missed the cut.
A year later, Mickelson arrived in Los Angeles as one of the faces of LIV Golf and on the heels of two solid performances in major championships.
He tied for second at the 2023 Masters and tied for 58th at the 2023 PGA Championship.
This week at LACC, Mickelson finished his first round in red figures, which included four birdies. Mickelson was 3-under par at one point, but a couple of bogies down the stretch dropped him back to 1-under.
Who knows if the heckling fan really distracted Mickelson, but at the very least, his 2023 U.S. Open performance is off to a better start than his 2022 showing.