New York -Phil
Mickelson insisted he meant no disrespect when he opted to putt a
moving ball in the third round of the US Open - swallowing a sextuple
bogey at the 13th hole.
Mickelson's bogey putt at Shinnecock Hills' par-four 13th skated past
the cup and was heading down a slope when he trotted after it and
batted it back toward the hole with his putter.
He needed eight strokes to get the ball in the hole and with a
two-stroke penalty walked off with a sextuple bogey 10 on the way to his
highest ever round in 27 US Open appearances of 11-over 81.
Playing partner Andrew Johnston called it "a moment of madness".
But Mickelson said the incident wasn't a childish display of
frustration from a five-time major champion celebrating his 48th
Instead, he said, he decided the two-stroke penalty he knew he would
receive would be preferable to letting the ball escape off the green.
"Look, I don't mean disrespect to anybody," he said. "I know it's a
two-shot penalty. At that time, I just didn't feel like going back and
forth and hitting the same shot over.
"It's meant to take advantage of the rules as best as you can. In
that situation, I was just going back and forth. I would gladly take the
two shots over continuing that display."
It's another chapter in the saga of Mickelson at the US Open - the
only major tournament missing from Mickelson's resume and one in which
he's finished runner-up six times.
John Bodenhamer of the US Golf Association said Mickelson was
penalised two strokes for violating rule 14-5 by "making a stroke at a
Bodenhamer said USGA rules officials "quickly" decided that
Mickelson's action was covered by that rule, and said the committee did
not consider Mickelson's actions to be covered by the rule stating "a
player must not take an action with the intent to influence the movement
of a ball in play" - which can result in disqualification.
Mickelson's day had been a slog until the 13th, with five bogeys
following his lone birdie at the fourth hole. He added one more bogey at
the 17th and had a 17-over par total of 227.
Despite Mickelson's explanation, Johnston's first impression was that frustration got the better of him.
"I think it's just one of the moments where you're not thinking about it. It just happens," Johnston said.
"It's something you might see at your home course with your mates or something."
Watch the incident below: