Phil Mickelson takes 2-shot penalty for hitting a moving golf ball!

Doug Mendoza
June 17, 2018

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -Phil Mickelson, who's known for playing by the rules, stepped out of character on his birthday at the U.S. Open. I know the rules and the ball was going to go off in a bad spot. 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.

He then took a quick jog over to the ball and hit it as it still seemed to be moving. He acknowledged the ball would have rolled off the green and rather than try his luck from there, he took the 2-stroke penalty and moved on.

"I'm not going to speak for Phil, but it seemed he was very appreciative of that and said, 'Listen, it would be helpful if the USGA clarified that just to make sure everybody understands how that rule operates'". In that situation, I was just going back and forth. "I don't see how knowing the rules and using them is a manipulation".

The most recent time something like this happened at a major tournament was John Daly at the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, when he hit a moving ball on the green en route to an 83 and a dead-last finish. I think I four-putted [No.] 15 and I mean the first putt is probably two foot away from being a good putt, ya know? He steadied himself on the back nine but three-putted the closing hole to fall into a tie with Berger, Finau and Koepka at 3-over-par 213. Joe Buck announced after Mickelson had made par at the next hole that his score on the 13th had been changed to a sextuple-bogey 10.

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"If someone is offended I apologise but toughen up", Mickelson said. And as I said, it was one odd moment.

"I was laughing. I was having fun", he said.

I don't mean any disrespect. When you ask people who they're rooting for, Phil's name always comes up. "I've never seen anything like that from a world-class player in my life". "He just laughed at me, he had no words to say".

You can see the initial putt here. It brought back memories of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock in 2004 when the course became almost unplayable in windy, dry conditions.

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