Published: Sun, June 17, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Phil Mickelson under fire after deliberately stopping ball at US Open

Phil Mickelson under fire after deliberately stopping ball at US Open

It's meant to take advantage of the rules as best as you can. It's my understanding of the rules.

Think about it. One of the greatest players in the world literally running after a putt moving down a hill and swinging his putter like a miniature hockey stick to knock it back toward the hole.

"It just happened. I said, 'That's one of the strangest things I've ever seen, ' and then just started laughing, to be honest".

Yes, that's what we'd call a meltdown.

"Sometimes it gets a little goofy, sure", he said, "but it's all within the rules".

When it was all said and done, Mickelson was assessed a two-stroke penalty for hitting the ball while still in play, forcing him to walk away with a 10.

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"I think it's just one of the moments where you're not thinking about it".

Mickelson had arrived at the course celebrating his 48th birthday and the stage was set for the left-hander to fire his way back into the tournament. It's been incredible. Singing happy birthdays, wishing happy birthdays. He made par at the 12th and came to the 366-yard par-4 13th and just snapped.

Mickelson took action with the goal of influencing the movement of a ball in play.

His irritation was undoubtedly borne out of his struggles prior to that point of his round and while it's something that all golfers have been tempted to do while their ball zaps past the hole, the majority resist the temptation.

Mickelson's initial shot landed on the fairway, but his next two shots missed the green. I've had multiple times where I've wanted to do that. I should have done it a couple of times on 15 at Augusta. "He just laughed at me, he had no words to say".

The first two days of the tournament have seen near capacity crowds flood onto the course, about 26,000 on Thursday and more than 29,000 on Friday including spectators, vendor staff and volunteers. The two players shared a laugh after the freaky turn of events and Johnston later said he's never seen anything like it.

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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. Daly was on No. 8 in the final round when he took an 11 on the hole and signed for an 81.

"I would probably do it myself, but I'm not a professional, and not in the U.S. Open", said Christine Lloyd. "He made a stroke at a moving ball, which is explicitly covered under 14-5".

Another player who let things get to him was Kirk Triplett in 1998 at Olympic Club. He hustled after the putt - and hit it back toward the hole before it stopped rolling.

"But it's nothing disrespectful to me or to the U.S. Open or anything". He added one more bogey at the 17th and had a 17-over par total of 227.

"I don't mean it in any disrespect, and if that's the way people took it I apologise to them". "It's amusing. I just wanted to get to the next hole and did not see that happening without the two shots".

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