Mickelson Steps Out of Character at U.S. Open

Lynette Rowe
June 20, 2018

Mickelson rolled a downhill putt past the hole on the 13th green in Saturday's third round.

The five-time major champion jogged after the ball to keep it from rolling away from the hole and hit it back to where he had been standing.

Mickelson was slapped with a two-stroke penalty and finished with 10 strokes on the whole, six over par.

"My feeling is that he was frustrated and was sending a message about the course set up on certain holes to the USGA", said Bobby Joyce, the former PGA professional at Southampton Golf Club.

The USGA opted not to disqualify Mickelson for Sunday, although there would have been grounds to do so.

Mickelson was asked if he thought what he did was disrespectful to the championship. "It was amusing." I think Mickelson gets a pass with those people because he is so popular, a modern-day Arnold Palmer.

Those who witnessed it, said that they couldn't believe their eyes.

"I think he was a chump", Hopkins stated bluntly, via Brendan Porath of SB Nation.

He'll then grin, touch the brim of his cap and give a goofy thumbs up to the "I love you Phil" brigade and charm his admirers with his latest left-field theory.

"That's the most out of character I've ever seen Phil Mickelson", Paul Azinger said on the Fox broadcast.

Some say, "It's just Phil being Phil".

UPDATE: 5:15 p.m.

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Last year, American golf's governing body made the setup at Open newbie Erin Hills too easy with 60-yard wide fairways, anticipating strong wins that never blew. This was his way to bend the rules and take a shot at the USGA at the same time for making the green so hard.

"No question, it was going to go down in the same spot behind the bunker", he added.

Koepka seems to be becoming a new fan favorite.

That led to players struggling to hold greens with approach shots and even putting the ball off the green, due to extremely firm and overly fast conditions. "Golf is a game of skill, and also integrity", said a Boston-area golfer, 56, who saw the Mickelson meltdown.

Mickelson had an 18-foot bogey putt roll past the hole and towards the edge of the green.

Playing partner Andrew Johnston called it "a moment of madness".

He was given a two-stroke penalty but could have been disqualified. I mean, you want to always use them in your favour. I took the two shots and moved on. "I didn't feel like going back and forth and hitting the same shot again, so I took the two-shot penalty and moved on". After all, Mickelson admittedly took an intentional swing at it while it was moving, which could have fallen under another rule (1-2) declaring that "a player must not take an action with the intent to influence the movement of a ball in play". It's just simply I just wanted to get on to the next hole and I didn't see that happening at the time. "He just laughed at me, he had no words to say".

"I wasn't going to have a shot", he said.

I know it's a two-shot penalty hitting a moving ball. "I think everyone should be allowed to have a moment". "So either way, there's no disrespect meant". Yes, I get that some people seem to take perverse enjoyment out of seeing the game's top players finding things way more hard than they are used to on a week-to-week basis, but no way is it good for the game as a spectacle to a worldwide audience for good shots to be severely punished, as was the case here. "Singing happy birthdays, wishing happy birthday".

"People here have been awesome, they made my birthday special", he said.

UPDATE: 12:30 p.m.

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