Phil Mickelson gambled U.S. Open preclusion with brazen act – but it turned out to be virtuoso

By | June 20, 2024

Phil Mickelson gambled U.S. Open preclusion with brazen act – but it turned out to be virtuoso

Phil Mickelson staggered his rivals and fans alike when he made the questionable choice to play a moving ball at the 2018 US Open, and his response as it were fed the fire

Eminence has evaded Phil Mickelson at the US Open all through his stellar career. Instep, he has gotten to be synonymous at his national open with close misses and one especially odd occurrence.
Mickelson is a six-time runner-up at the US Open, and his chances of completing the career grand slam are fading, with the 53-year-old going three years without a tournament victory. Unfortunately for Lefty, the overriding memories of him at the US Open are his heartbreaks and his controversial decision at Shinnecock Hills in 2018.

Mickelson was well out of contention on the back nine of his third round when he arrived at the par-four 13th at 10-over for the week. He left himself a slippery 18ft putt for bogey after another scruffily-played hole, and he misjudged the pace as the ball went sailing past the cup and headed towards a run-off area.

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But, remarkably, the six-time major champion raced after his ball and hit it again before it stopped moving, tapping it back past the hole to stay on the putting surface. Mickelson had not cheated, but he had bent the rules in his favour.

Had Mickelson’s ball ran off the green, he would have been left with a perilous chip. He took the calculated decision to accept a two-shot penalty for hitting a moving ball to avoid the challenge of chipping back onto a lightning-fast green.

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Ultimately, the decision did not do Mickelson many favours. He walked off with a 10 and finished the day with a card of 81. And he was met with widespread criticism for his actions, with claims he should have been disqualified.

“It was going to go down into the same spot, behind the bunker,” he said. “I wasn’t going to have a shot. I don’t know if I would have been able to save a shot or what not, but I know it’s a two-shot penalty, hitting a moving ball. I tried to hit it as close to the hole as I could to make the next one and you take the two shots and you move on.

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“I don’t mean disrespect by anybody. 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. I took the two-shot penalty and moved on. It’s my understanding of the rules. I’ve had multiple times where I’ve wanted to do that, I just finally did it.”

The United States Golf Association (USGA), which organises the US Open, could have disqualified Mickelson under Rule 33-7. Former USGA chief executive David Fay told Golf Digest he indeed would have booted Mickelson out of the tournament, but Mickelson walked away with just a two-shot penalty and finished tied for 48th.

Mickelson is one of 10 LIV Golf players in the field at Pinehurst No. 2 this week, and it represents one of his last chances to add the coveted US Open Championship Trophy to his collection.

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