Phil Mickelson Hits Moving Ball Out of Frustration at U.S. Open

by Steven Clarke June 19, 2018, 15:09
Phil Mickelson Hits Moving Ball Out of Frustration at U.S. Open

Phil Mickelson has sparked controversy at the US Open by striking a moving ball in a breach of golfing etiquette, with Australian Steve Elkington leading the criticism.

Hitting a moving ball incurs a two-stroke penalty, and Mickelson was assessed with a 10 at the par-four hole.

The five-time major victor finished his round 11-over for the day in 65 position. 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.

It might have been different if it had been a moment of madness caused by a rush of blood to the head.

"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.

"You have to understand that the USGA had pushed the notion that it wanted its US Open to be the biggest, baddest, toughest golf tournament in the world", Fay said recently, recalling the carnage of 2004.

"But it's nothing disrespectful to me or to the U.S. Open or anything".

'I know it's a two-shot penalty hitting a moving ball.

The world No.1 is tied at three over with defending champion Brooks Koepka, alongside Daniel Berger and Tony Finau, who both carded rounds of 66 in benign morning conditions on Long Island. Justin Rose is one shot back with Henrik Stenson a further shot adrift. He chatted up his old pal Jimmy Dunne, a Shinnecock member with deep roots in the game.

Mickelson, who turns 48 today, missed a bogey putt on the 13th before running the ball and hitting it again as it continued to roll away from the hole.

Mickelson jogged after the ball after it curled around the hole, realizing it was about to head down the other side of the green.

It meant an automatic two-shot penalty and he ended up with a 10 for the hole.

It dropped the veteran star to 16 over for the tournament, 20 shots adrift of then leader Dustin Johnson. Mickelson took a two stroke penalty before eventually making the shot. 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".

Even if Rule 2.1 had been enforced, there is no guarantee it would have resulted in a DQ.

"He didn't deflect it or stop it". It just happens, and he just did it.

"Oh, no question; it was going to go down in the same spot behind the bunker and I wasn't going to have a shot", Mickelson said.

Was it a mad spur-of-the-moment mistake, or was it a pre-calculated move to save a shot or two like he said?

"When he heard that he called [Davis] and said, 'If I've done something that crosses the line that much, then I need to withdraw immediately, '" Amy said, per Golfweek's Beth Ann Nichols.

As he walked off the green, he could be seen smiling and talking to playing partner Andrew Johnston, who also was smiling. I think Phil just lost his head. He wasn't doing it in a bad way or to try and get disqualified. Golf seems to be working out just fine for him though.

This is one of the more surprising things you'll see.

However, John Bodenhamer, senior managing director of championships and governance for the USGA, said that was not discussed by the rules committee.

Davis revealed Mickelson had telephoned him to clarify whether or not he should have been disqualified.


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