June 8 (Reuters) - Phil Mickelson has been handed a late tee time for the first round of the U.S. Open in Wisconsin next Thursday, leaving open the faint possibility that he could still compete in the major championship at Erin Hills.
Mickelson is scheduled to tee off at 2.20 p.m. Central Time (1920 GMT), the U.S. Golf Association (USGA) announced on Thursday when they released the threesomes for the first two rounds.
The 46-year-old revealed recently that he played to skip the Open to attend his daughter’s high school graduation in southern California.
The ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. Pacific Time (1700 GMT), which makes it impossible for Mickelson to attend it and also make the roughly four-hour flight in his private jet to Wisconsin in time for his scheduled tee time.
But the late tee time is Mickelson’s only hope, because it means that a weather delay could give the five-times major winner time to get there, if his tee time is pushed back to either late afternoon or Friday morning.
It is an unlikely scenario, but one that has prompted Mickelson not to officially withdraw from the only major championship he has never won.
The USGA has put together some blockbuster threesomes, none better than the past three winners, Dustin Johnson (2016), Jordan Spieth (2015) and Martin Kaymer (2014) playing together, teeing off at 8.35 a.m. CT on Thursday and 2.20 p.m. on Friday.
Also playing early in the first round and late in the second will be a glamour trio of young guns in Japanese Hideki Matsuyama, American Rickie Fowler and Spaniard Jon Rahm.
On the other side of the draw, Australian Jason Day, Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy and Englishman Justin Rose will keep each other company.
Masters champion Sergio Garcia of Spain will play with Australian Adam Scott and American Bubba Watson, while another group of potential contenders brings together British Open champion Henrik Stenson of Sweden and South Africans Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen. (Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine)