DUBLIN, OH (June 3, 2017) – Eighteen years ago Payne Stewart made a par on the final hole of the US. Open at Pinehurst and handed Phil the first of his five runner-up finishes in the national championship. That night Phil flew home to San Diego to witness the birth of his first child, Amanda, the next day.
In two weeks Amanda, now the president her high school class, will give a speech to her classmates at their graduation and Phil will be there, not at the Open in Erin Hills, Wisconsin.
Phil made the announcement today after his third round in the Memorial Tournament.
“Unfortunately, it comes on the Thursday morning of the Open, Pacific time,” said Phil, “so there’s really no way to make it, no matter what the tee time is.”
After two appearances in the Open as an amateur Phil made his professional debut in the 1992 Open at Pebble Beach. In 24 consecutive appearances as a professional he finished among the top-10 10 times and second five times by a total of nine strokes, twice by one. He did not play the 1993 Open after missing qualifying by a stroke.
“It’s the tournament I want to win the most,” said Phil, a winner of three Masters, a PGA Championship and the Open Championship. “The only way to win is if you play and have a chance. But this is one of those moments in life that when you look back, you don’t want to have missed.”
Phil announced that he would officially withdraw as close to the tournament as possible on the slim chance that something would delay the graduation. But he alerted USGA Executive Director/CEO Mike Davis so that his group could make their pairings next week.
“I didn’t want to put them in a spot where they’re making TV pairings and have to substitute,” said Phil.
He was asked what Amanda said when he talked to her about it.
“She’s always been very supportive,” said Phil. But, “It really wasn’t something we discussed because there really wasn’t much of a decision.”