Phil Mickelson under fire after deliberately stopping ball at US Open

Lynette Rowe
June 17, 2018

Former Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson, speaking on BBC Radio 5 live, labelled the incident "comical" and conceded Mickelson was "very lucky" to be handed "the softer option" of the two-shot penalty over potential disqualification.

Phil Mickelson reacts to his putt on the third hole during the third round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Saturday, June 16, 2018, in Southampton, N.Y. Mickelson was intentionally taking advantage of the rule whereas Daly swatted at the ball as it rolled back to him out of what he later admitted was frustration at the USGA over the placement of the hole on the 8th hole.

Mickelson tried to downplay the controversy and offered a limp apology to reporters after signing his scorecard. And if that's the way people took it, I apologize to them, but that's not the way it was taken.

Playing with England golfer Andrew Johnston - who later tweeted that the controversy did not affect his game after carding an 12-over 82 - Mickelson was seen laughing on the broadcast. The two players shared a laugh after the freakish turn of events and Johnston later said he's never seen anything like it. I took the two-shot penalty and moved on.

"I could have maybe hit a shot and somehow made the putt", he said.

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Mickelson admitted post-round he hit the ball prematurely deliberately to stop the ball going off the green again, although did that put him a better position? And I would gladly take the two shots over continuing that display.

"I've wanted to do it many times before and finally did". At that time, I just didn't feel like going back and forth.

Meanwhile others simply saw the amusing side. Taking his two-shot penalty, the extremely unusual incident divided viewers between those who condemned the action, and those who saw the amusing side of it.

"I think knowing the rules is never a bad thing". Gotten to that point where you've just had enough of the course or setup? I wasn't going to have a shot. "It was odd, no one ever has those thoughts, it just happens". He added one more bogey at the 17th and had a 17-over par total of 227.

It certainly was one of the most surreal moments of all the 118 U.S. Opens contested.

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