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Liguori: No Distractions For Mickelson, So He Says, As Quest For U.S. Open Title Continues

Phil Mickelson plays a shot from the rough on the 12th hole during the first round of the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Course No. 2 on June 12, 2014 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson plays a shot from the rough on the 12th hole during the first round of the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Course No. 2 on June 12, 2014 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

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By Ann Liguori
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Phil Mickelson shot an even-par 70 in the first round of the U.S. Open on Thursday, putting him five shots behind Martin Kaymer of Germany, who with a 5 under par, 65, leads Kevin Na, Graeme McDowell and Brendon De Jonge by three shots.

Mickelson has finished as a runner-up in the U.S. Open six times. Could this tournament be the one the 43-year-old finally captures to complete a career Grand Slam?

If he does, he’ll have to continue driving the ball accurately off the green. His iron play was excellent, hitting 13 greens in regulation. He’ll have to sharpen up his putting a bit and drain some long bombs. His short game will have to be brilliant as the course played easier in the first round than expected, so it should play tougher in the second round with trickier pin placements and faster greens.

With all the pre-tournament hoopla regarding Mickelson’s quest for a career Grand Slam, he’s had to deal with the distraction of being named in an investigation relating to inside trading. If a person is guilty, that’s one thing. But it’s unfortunate that an investigation went public before it was completed.

During the first round, news that his name had been cleared in the investigation — as it relates to shares of Clorox — surfaced. Apparently, he still remains under investigation involving Dean Foods trades that netted him nearly $1 million, the New York Times reported.

After his round, Mickelson told ESPN reporter Tom Rinaldi that he expects to continue to cooperate with authorities on the investigation. He said he did nothing wrong and that it hasn’t been a distraction.

We live in a world where news travels at lightning speed. Reputations are tarnished before investigations are over and charges, if any, are issued.

I know it happens all the time.

But it’s just not right.

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