Time would appear to be running out: the popular lefthander will celebrate his 48 birthday on Saturday and will be serenaded by the gallery on each and every hole at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. He wouldn't want to be reminded that 65 players - including the last four major champions - were not even born when Mickelson was low amateur in his first U.S. Open in 1990 at Medinah.
Our prediction? Woods makes the cut with a bit of room to spare but well behind the leaders, and then absolutely tears up the course on Sunday morning when the pressure's off to play himself into a top-15 finish.
What kind of opportunities will Shinnecock Hills offer? Or that with a victory earlier this year at the Mexico Championship that his confidence level is higher than the 4 previous years when he didn't win at all. "It's one of those things where now that I'm in I'm going to try to treat it like any other event, prepare, and play well".
He said that he watched last year's U.S. Open on television, before he had been given the all-clear even to start practising after his April spinal fusion, not even sure he would be able to play again, let alone return to major championships.
"There are a few [players] who have said it's taken them two to three hours from the hotel", Woods said.
Asked about the video of his arrest and how his life has changed, Woods replied, "It's gotten better". "And I think we're at Augusta, and he walks under my bus, and he's like, 'Hey, man, what are you doing?'" So, yeah, I've had my opportunities.
"I can say that a few times in this tournament", he said. It might be something psychological, though Woods keeps his inner thoughts so close that no one really knows what goes on inside his head.
That seems like longer than a year ago because Woods has been such an active part of the PGA Tour again. "But I love how that has been brought into it, rather than the hack out of the rough, hope it comes out OK factor".
And while the crowd was relatively sparse for his morning round, there is no mistaking when Woods is around.
While last year's champion was a relative newcomer, Brooks Koepka, who had only five years of professional experience, oddsmakers are banking on someone with more experience to win on the hard course.
Spieth said he prefers to think about who makes putts in big moments, and whether the ball is holed with the right speed and right break. "But that's just the Tiger effect, and everyone wants to see him".
Player said Asian talent is on the rise, especially in China, and likely to contend for a Masters green jacket one day soon.
"I saw something so amusing yesterday".
Why he'll win: This year's setup at Shinnecock will definitely favor the big hitters. This will be his second U.S. Open after also qualifying in 2013.
The oldest player to win the U.S. Open was Hale Irwin, who was 45 when he won at Medinah in 1990 - Mickelson's first major.
His other top-10 finish in a major was a sixth-place showing at the 2002 PGA Championship. "What I've done over basically my entire career is putt with those putters at home a lot".
It's therefore an unexpected luxury to have both of them back in the field, and in such form. I have done it multiple times in a U.S. Open. "That was it. I thought it was pretty amusing, whoever came up with that".
"I've played in the Open a few times, but to go and actually qualify and play in the United States on that stage, I'm really looking forward to it", he said.