SAN DIEGO -- There's nothing quite like playing in your hometown PGA Tour event, on a course you got to know as a kid, in front of family and friends, at a place where you've had success. It's even better when it's a major.

The U.S. Open is on the South Course at Torrey Pines this week, a home game for Phil Mickelson, the reigning PGA Championship winner who turns 51 on Wednesday.

In setting the record by becoming the oldest major champion in history last month, Mickelson also conjured up hopes and dreams that he could complete the career Grand Slam this week by winning that elusive U.S. Open title that he has come so agonizingly close to over the years.

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Having found the form and patience to win the PGA on a tough Kiawah Island course, why not at Torrey, a place with which he is seemingly familiar?

"It's not as much [of an advantage] as most people think,'' said Tim Mickelson, Phil's younger brother and caddie.

That's the problem, the actual truth that will counter the narrative this week: that Phil Mickelson is returning home, to a place he loves, fresh off triumph, looking for the one missing piece of his Grand Slam puzzle.

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