Phil Mickelson Hits Moving Ball Out of Frustration at U.S. Open

Frustrated Mickelson swats moving ball with putter at Open

Mickelson knocked in a five-footer for par and then raised his arms in a vintage-Phil celebration, mocking the spectacle he put on a day earlier. Kirk Triplett also did it at the U.S. Open in 1998 at the Olympic Club, stopping his ball in motion with his putter on the 18th green when he already knew he was missing the cut.

And, much like a 10-year-old, he refused to admit he was wrong.

Afterwards, Mickelson - who is now on +17 after three rounds at Shinnecock Hills - says he has long wanted to give up on a hole by hitting a moving ball. "But toughen up, this was not meant that way".

The simple question, what happened over at 13? That, at least, might have been excusable, even for a player in his 27th Open who clearly knows better.

"Golf-etiquette-wise, that was not the smartest thing to do", Mr. Smith added.

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.

After a frustrating few rounds at Shinnecock Hills, Mickelson has made the cut for the weekend but just barely as he's languishing at the bottom of the leaderboard on +15.

His playing partner surely did.

"We were both obviously really struggling", Johnston said.

"I think he just snapped".

The moment was one thing.

Azinger did not buy Mickelson's explanation of the incident.

Though, Phil took that to a completely different level on the 13th hole Saturday.

The USGA invoked Rule 14-5 which states a player "must not make a stroke at his ball while it is moving". I looked at him and I was like, 'Is this actually happening?!' But honestly, I looked at him and I said to him, 'Sorry, but I can't help but laugh at that.

Mickelson's initial shot landed on the fairway, but his next two shots missed the green. "I know it's a two-shot penalty".

Mickelson will start the final round at +17 after having carded a damaging 81 on Saturday, extinguishing any lingering hopes of him completing his career grand slam at Shinnecock.

Worse yet, there was clearly some premeditation involved. Instead, the darling of American golf earned a place on golf's roll of dishonour by deliberately stopping his ball rolling off a green, an offence nearly unheard-of in big-time golf. In that situation, I was just going back and forth.

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

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