Phil Mickelson to critics after U.S. Open penalty: 'Toughen up'

by Steven Clarke June 17, 2018, 1:01
Phil Mickelson to critics after U.S. Open penalty: 'Toughen up'

Saturday is always considered "Moving Day" at a golf tournament but Phil Mickelson took that phrase a little too far during his third round at the U.S. Open.

Mickelson jogged after the ball after it curled around the hole, realizing it was about to head down the other side of the green. I've had multiple times where I've wanted to do that.

Mickelson, 48, was already 10-over at the point.

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

The veteran American struggled throughout his round, though risked disqualification when he struck a moving ball to score a 10 on the par-four 13 hole - though officials deemed it was just a two-shot penalty.

Phil Mickelson reacts to a shot from the fescue on the fifth hole during Saturday's third round of the U.S. Open.

As he walked off the green, he could be seen smiling and talking to playing partner Andrew Johnston, who also was smiling.

"That's the most out of character I've ever seen Phil Mickelson", Paul Azinger said on the Fox broadcast. After three more pars following the meltdown, he bogeyed 17, then parred 18. "He just laughed at me, he had no words to say". He's never won a U.S. Open, but now he has etched himself a place in tournament lore - for all the wrong reasons.

"I would gladly take the two shots over continuing that display", he said.

This is where golf gets into the weeds and the USGA's ruling is ... curious: The USGA determined Mickelson "made a stroke at a moving ball", but did not purposefully deflect or stop it.

History suggests the 33-year-old is an odds-on favourite to become only the second player after Tiger Woods to win while ranked world number one, with five of the previous six players to hold a halfway lead of four shots or more going on to win.

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