Published: Sun, June 17, 2018
Sport | By Patty Hardy

Mickelson Hits Moving Ball with Putter, Receives Sextuple Bogey

Mickelson Hits Moving Ball with Putter, Receives Sextuple Bogey

Mickelson defended his decision to jog after and then hit his missed bogey putt back towards the hole despite the ball still moving and appearing to be heading off the green.

Mickelson is a five-time major champion, and I understand that he is frustrated with his game and the fact that he has yet to win a U.S. Open, but come on, everyone is watching you Phil and you're better than that. "I know it's a two-shot penalty".

The incident will always dog the colourful and often controversial Californian - he later told critics to "toughen up" - but Mickelson's mad-cap moment was just the start on a insane day at Shinnecock Hills.

The USGA said overnight watering would reduce green speeds, and hole locations would be set up to be more accessible to players.

Mickelson hit a horrendous putt on Shinnecock's 13th green that began to trundle down a slope.

Other players, however, were more measured and accepted the challenge for what it was.

USGA chief executive Mike Davis admitted organisers' zeal to make the US Open the "ultimate" test in golf backfired as higher than expected winds dried out the sloping greens at Shinnecock Hills. But Tony Finau teed off 33 minutes before Mickelson and managed to shoot a 4-under 66, so it wasn't like it was totally unplayable.

He ran after the ball, hitting it back before it rolled further down the hill. And I said to him, 'It's like someone's standing there slapping you in the face constantly for 18 holes, just slapping you in the face.' That's what it felt like.

World number one Johnson, who had led by four overnight, shot a 77. One problem: he didn't wait for the ball to stop moving.

As expected, Twitter had some great reactions to the play. Serious breaches of this rule could result in disqualification. "It was odd, no one ever has those thoughts, it just happens". "I took two shots and moved on and got to the next hole". I can't see anything and I went, 'Where is it?' And he went, 'It's just in that bunker up there.' I go, 'Ah, you gotta be kidding me!' He's like, "Aaaah! Sometimes in these situations, it's just easier to take the 2 shots and move on".

John Bodenhamer, the USGA's senior managing director of championships and governance, said the tournament's rules committee quickly convened and unanimously determined that Mickelson's actions did not fit under that category.

"I know the rules", Mickelson said.

Mickelson is no stranger to controversy and caused significant ructions at the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles when he criticized the captaincy of Tom Watson in the USA team's losing press conference.

Mickelson played the third round with England's Andrew "Beef" Johnston, who had a hard time believing what he was seeing. "I think he just snapped at how bad his speed was on that putt".

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