Phil Mickelson returns to scene of crime as a changed man

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Phil Mickelson puzzled us all when he appeared to putt a moving ball during the U.S. Open at Shinnecock.

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. It's a two-shot penalty on top of the score, so it ends up being a nine, and as of now it's on the scorecard as a such.

With the penalty he racked up a sextuple bogey 10 at the par-four hole - although it took some minutes for the scoreboard to catch up with him.

"I've wanted to do it many times before and finally did". "He's putted bad enough that I think he just snapped at how bad his speed was on that putt". It was going to go down in the same spot behind the bunker. Not only did he struggle putting, but he also cost himself two strokes by chasing down a missed putt and taking another shot before the ball stopped moving.

Phil Mickelson pulled a move Saturday that an average golfer has likely done at least once in his or her lifetime. It's meant to take advantage of the rules as best as you can. "It's just one of them things that just happened".

The incident on Mickelson's 48th birthday brought to mind a similar episode by John Daly during the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

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Mickelson finished the round with an 11-over 81, and 17-over for the tournament.

"We want the US Open to be tough".

The USGA invoked Rule 14-5 which states a player "must not make a stroke at his ball while it is moving". "Sometimes in these situations it is just easier to take the two shots and move on". "Singing happy birthdays, wishing happy birthday".

Mickelson may one day join that group, but "putt-gate" won't help his reputation. From longtime Shinnecock greenskeeper Ron Eleazer, to Southampton Golf Club member Denise Martorana, part of the team marshaling the first hole, to Shinnecock course superintendent Jon Jennings, everyone seems to agree that a Mickelson win would be something to celebrate.

This is one of the more surprising things you'll see. "I've had it with the USGA and the way they run their tournaments". "We are operating under what we saw".

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