By Andrew Both
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - Masters champion Phil Mickelson admits winning the U.S. Open is his top priority after finishing second an agonizing five times.
Mickelson has won four majors yet never claimed the U.S. Open, frittering away several golden opportunities to reach the summit.
"That's a special event for me," he told reporters Wednesday on the eve of the PGA Tour's Quail Hollow Championship.
"A couple of years I've had great chances and haven't come through, and it's the one event that I'd love to win.
"With this tournament being at Pebble (Beach), a course I've had success at, I feel like there's a good opportunity there so I don't want to look past that."
Mickelson often plays the week before the U.S. Open, but this year he will skip the Memphis tour stop because conditions there will be totally different to what he will encounter on the California coast.
"Usually I like to play the week before a major and this year I'm not before the Open, for the reason that the grasses are so different and (Pebble Beach) is right by my house.
"I'll be able to go up and get some practice rounds the week before so that will be a challenge for me to get my game sharp and ready by Thursday."
Mickelson will, however, play the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond immediately prior to the British Open at St Andrews, and will contest the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational the week before the U.S. PGA Championship.
Mickelson is returning to competition at Quail Hollow after taking a fortnight break to celebrate his third Masters victory.
He relaxed for a week after Augusta but has spent the past week preparing to play again.
"I feel like my game is starting to come around," he said. "I see improvement each day and I feel it's back to a level close to where it was at Augusta, so I certainly have high expectations this week and next (at the Players Championship)."
Mickelson was also asked about his visit to a doughnut shop in Augusta the morning after the Masters. He was photographed wearing the green jacket given to the Masters champion as he waited in his car at the drive-through window.
He said he took his three children there for a special treat: "It was a little chilly, so I threw on a jacket and went through the drive through," he joked.
(Editing by Steve Ginsburg)