'Embarassed' Mickelson apologizes for U.S. Open rules violation

Tanya Simon
June 24, 2018

But Mickelson said the incident wasn't a childish display of frustration from a five-time major champion celebrating his 48th birthday.

Phil Mickelson caused a social media storm and much discussion between fans, pundits and players when the multiple major champion decided to deliberately make a stroke at his moving ball on the 13th green at Shinnecock Hills on Saturday.

With the greens notoriously fast that weekend, it appeared that Mickelson's putt would roll all the way off the green, but rather than let that happen, Lefty ran over to his still-moving ball and putted it again back towards the hole.

A day after telling his critics to "toughen up", Phil Mickelson was far less forthcoming about the controversy surrounding his two-shot penalty in the third round of the US Open.

Despite Mickelson's explanation, Johnston's first impression was that frustration got the better of him.

"You know, I don't know if I'd go to the lengths that he went to make a statement like that, but I thought there was a massive over-reaction to it".

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"It was clearly not my finest moment and I'm sorry", he said.

Mickelson finished the U.S. Open at T48, 15 strokes behind Koepka, so it's not like he played himself out of a championship. "I gladly take the penalty". It was the kind of bush-league move that would have gotten you screamed at in your foursome, and the fact that Mickelson did it while at the U.S. Open struck many as inconceivable. "He played a moving ball". "He knows the rules". "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".

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

Mickelson, who insisted Saturday he'd meant no disrespect, didn't talk to reporters on Sunday, instead signing autographs for fans before leaving.

According to USGA chief executive Mike Davis, Mickelson rang him later Saturday to discuss whether he should be disqualified but Davis told him he had been dealt with by the rules. Despite winning the US Open in 2011, McIlroy has also, on occasion, been a critic of the USGA and said he understood why Mickelson did it.

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