Phil Mickelson started the final round of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills 14 strokes behind the leaders, but he had become the story of the tournament thanks to a freaky penalty and a ruling from the USGA that many disagreed with. Mickelson admitted he did it on goal, wrongly thinking that he could show the world how smart he is by gaining an "advantage" (even though he seemed oblivious to the fact that it actually would have been much smarter and totally legal for him to simply let the ball go, take an unplayable lie, and re-hit the putt from about the same spot). "But it was just a moment - I think it's just a moment of madness".
The incident came on the 13th hole of the third round at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.
It was a childish display from a five-time major victor celebrating his 48th birthday.
Though, Phil took that to a completely different level on the 13th hole Saturday. I wasn't going to have a shot.
Phil Mickelson reacts to a shot from the fescue on the fifth hole during Saturday's third round of the U.S. Open.
Mickelson, who turned 48 years old Saturday, may have damaged his reputation for some avid fans after his moment of annoyance. I tried to hit it as close as I could on the next one, and you take the two shots and move on'.
"To go to Rule 1-2, Phil didn't purposely deflect or stop the ball, which is talked about in the reference under Rule 14-5", he said.
"I would gladly take the two shots over continuing that display", he said.
And two-time US Open champion Curtis Strange added: "He will feel some embarrassment because there are a lot of people and kids watching that really admire this guy".
"I don't mean disrespect to anybody", Mickelson told Fox Sports afterwards.
"It's something you might see at your home course with your mates or something", Andrew Johnston said.
This is one of the more surprising things you'll see.
With his ball about to roll down the slope, Lefty ran to his ball ... as it was moving ... and just gave it a whack back towards the cup, obviously missing, and then just marked his ball like nothing had happened.
Daly, however, already had a reputation for being unpredictable, whereas Mickelson's reputation as American golf's golden man has been cultivated over nearly three decades of exemplary behaviour on the course. He offered that he knows the rules and that taking a two-shot penalty was better than the alternative.
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"Many may not understand ... but I do, and this morning I have the deepest gratitude that I pulled through", she continued. At the time, she said that she felt like she "overstepped a boundary", comparing it to walking in on her mother meditating.
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He would end up with a 10 on the hole and with an 81 Saturday. "But it was just a moment - I think it's just a moment of madness". He said he knew the ball was going to roll off the green, which is why he made a decision to hit it while it was still moving.
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