Phil Mickelson given 'last minute' dispensation for cross-country dash to US Open

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Determined to avoid the embarrassing rules mess from a year ago, the USGA is shaking up the way it officiates the U.S. Open at Erin Hills. Yet the first alternate, Roberto Diaz, has been practising here for the past three days unsure whether he will play or not. Mickelson's tee time was scheduled for 2:20 pm CST with Stewart Cink and Steve Stricker.

Mickelson holds the U.S. Open record with six runner-up finishes, and it's the only major keeping him from the career Grand Slam.

Amanda almost caused Mickelson to withdraw from the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

It's a bit early to start talking about Rahm in the same breath as Ballesteros but time and natural talent are on his side and so, it seems, is his temperament.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson only arrived at Erin Hills on Tuesday afternoon after fiancee Paulina Gretzky gave birth to the couple's second son - named River Jones Johnson - on Monday, but the world number one is targeting the first successful title defence since Curtis Strange in 1989. "Everybody's healthy so that's good".

"I think past year there were two things we fell short on — it took too long to make the ruling and it left uncertainty with the competition", said John Bodenhamer, the USGA's managing director of rules and competition. "I think it represents that we've been listening and we're prepared to act in the best interests of the game".

Only a lengthy weather delay - and there had been several already this week - would have given the 46-year-old a chance of being at the ceremony and then flying by private jet from California to Wisconsin.

Johnson, who missed the U.S. Masters after hurting his back, failed to make the halfway cut at the Memorial tournament last week while McIlroy has not played in almost a month, since reporting back problems at the Players Championship. Mickelson's wife, Amy, was due with her as the tournament opened. "And if guys can't put it into play within a 50-yard zone I don't think they've got much to complain about".