- Phil Mickelson took a bizarre 2-stroke penalty at the U.S. Open when he intentionally putted a ball that was still rolling on the green.
- Mickelson hit his bogey putt well past the hole and rather than let it roll off the green, he chased after it and hit it again before it stopped.
- Mickelson ultimately scored a 10 on the Par-4 13th hole and left the announcers speechless.
Phil Mickelson took one of the more bizarre penalties you will ever see at a major golf championship when he intentionally putted a ball that was still rolling.
The incident came on the 13th hole of the third round at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. Mickelson hit his bogey putt well past the hole and it appeared that it might roll off the green.
Rather than wait to see where the ball might end up, Mickelson literally ran after the ball and hit it again as it was still moving. Fox announcer Joe Buck was stunned and momentarily speechless.
The greens have been a nightmare for the world’s best golfers as only one player is under par and many of the game’s biggest names failed to make the cut.
After the putt, commentator Curtis Strange may have summed it up best as Mickelson was walking off the green with a big smile on his face.
“I’ve never seen anything like that from a world-class player in my life,” Strange said.
Fox analyst Paul Azinger speculated that Mickelson just snapped after seeing how bad his putt was.
“That’s the most out-of-character I have ever seen Phil Mickelson,” Azinger said. “I think he just snapped at how bad his speed was on that putt. He just snapped.”
Mickelson later said he did not mean the shot to be disrespectful, saying there was “no question” the ball was going to roll off the green, and he decided to take the penalty rather than the alternative.
“I don’t mean disrespect by anybody,” Mickelson told Fox. “I know it’s a 2-shot penalty, and at that time I just didn’t feel like going back and forth and hitting the same shot over. I took the 2-shot penalty and moved on. It’s my understanding of the rules. I have had multiple times where I’ve wanted to do that. I just finally did.”
According to one USGA rule, Mickelson could have been disqualified for the move if it had been determined that he had gained a “significant advantage.” Mickelson’s comments seem to suggest he was attempting to gain an advantage, although, it is up for debate how “significant” it was if he still scored a 10 on the hole and is 21 strokes behind the leader.
Many immediately pointed to John Daly, who also hit a moving putt during the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, although the two incidents do appear to be different. Mickelson was intentionally taking advantage of the rule whereas Daly swatted at the ball as it rolled back to him out of what he later admitted was frustration at the USGA over the placement of the hole on the 8th hole.
Mickelson finished the round with an 11-over 81, and 17-over for the tournament.