Saying that he meant no disrespect to the game or the tournament, Phil Mickelson defended his decision to hit a moving ball that was rolling off the green during the third round of the U.S. Open, saying that he’d “still be out there,’’ if he had not violated the rules.
Mickelson, who celebrated his 48th birthday on Saturday at Shinnecock Hills, saw his bogey putt on the 13th hole slide low of the hole and begin to trickle away to the point that he ran after it and hit it again back toward the hole before it had stopped, stroking the ball past the hole a second time.
From there, he two-putted, and was assessed a two-stroke penalty for hitting a moving ball, leading to a score of 10 on the par-4 hole. He shot 81 for the round.
“I don’t mean it disrespectful; if you’re taking it that way, that’s not on me,’’ Mickelson told reporters after the round. “I’m sorry that you’re taking it that way, it’s certainly not meant that way. Sometimes in these situations, it’s just easier to take the two shots and move on.’’
John Bodenhamer, the United State’s Golf Association’s senior managing director of championships and governance, said Mickelson was penalized two strokes under Rule 14-5, which addresses a player hitting a moving ball.