Alternate's U.S. Open hopes hinge on Phil Mickelson's journey
The intrigue before the U.S. Open, which will be televised by FOX this week from Erin Hills, is whether Phil Mickelson will make it to Wisconsin from his daughter's graduation to make his tee time.
No one has more riding on Mickelson than Roberto Diaz, the golfer who would take Lefty's place in the field if he can not make it to the course in time on Thursday.
Diaz, who plays on the Web.com tour, is the first alternate from a sectional in New Jersey. He actually tied for a spot in the major but lost out in a playoff with Matthew Campbell.
The alternate pecking order is determined by Jeff Hall, the USGA’s Managing Director of Rules and Open Championships, who ranks the 12 sectional qualifying sites – 10 domestic and two international – by strength of field.
Canoe Brook was deemed to have the seventh-strongest field, and the first alternates from the top six sites have already earned entry.
Mickelson needs to be at the tee 2:20 p.m. Central time on Thursday. If he can't make it -- and he says he needs a four-hour weather delay to have a chance -- Diaz will be in the field.
Diaz was at Erin Hills on Monday playing a practice round and using the practice facilities. This is the first year the USGA has allowed alternates to play practice rounds.