Just received a note from Phil Mickelson. “I know this should've come sooner, but it's taken me a few days to calm down. My anger and frustration got the best of me last weekend. I'm embarrassed and disappointed by my actions. It was clearly not my finest moment and I'm sorry. “— Dave Shedloski (@DaveShedloski) June 20, 2018
The apology everyone has been waiting for; at least for golf purists and senior writers within the golf community. Days after lefty's putt heard round the world, Mickelson finally addressed his U.S. Open controversy via texting reporters this morning.
At the 13th hole during the third round of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock on Saturday, Phil was attempting a bogey putt that slid past the edge of the hole. After realizing his ball was about to send it down the green onto the fairway where it would have rolled another 20-30 yards, Phil ran up to his ball while it was in motion and hit it back towards the hole.
The result costed lefty a two-stroke penalty and a firestorm from the internet. He not only walked away carding a 10 on this hole, but also with the notion he could (or should) be disqualified from the U.S. Open.
A swarm of media members engulfed around Phil once his round concluded to get his reaction: "It’s certainly not meant (to show disrespect). It’s meant to take advantage of the rules as best you can. In that situation I was just, I was just going back and forth. I’ll gladly take the two shots over continuing that display," Mickelson stated.
Listen, I get where people are coming from with the opinion that Phil should have been DQ'd. Obviously what he did wasn't under your typical "golf etiquette," and could pose the conversation he threw away the integrity of the U.S. Open through his actions. But think about the situation from Phil's shoes for a second.
At the time he was +10 with DJ leading with a score of -4. This was a bogey putt that was heading downhill faster than a college boy's inhibitions on a Saturday night. If he were to let the putt go, he would've had a chip shot about 30 yards from the hole along with having to shoot over a bunker with minimal green in between the trap and the hole to work with. Which easily could have costed him more strokes than the two-stroke penalty he received.
A part of me gets where Phil is coming from, because think about how many times you've told your ball to "SIT! SIT! SIT!" after drilling a putt? I know that this was the U.S. Open, so the circumstances are vastly different, but after a tough showing I think Phil had just had enough. The 10 spot put him at +16 overall and he knew he was out of contention at that point.
So do I believe Phil is actually sorry for what he did? Not really. Phil even said, “I’ve had multiple times when I’ve wanted to do that, and I finally did." With how crazy the green speeds were at Shinnecock, I'm sure this thought came up multiple times during the week for him and he finally went through with it.
And again, I don't agree with what Phil did by hitting his ball in motion or the USGA for folding when Mickelson even contacted Mike Davis offering to withdraw. But I will say, I respect the move from lefty.
It's what makes him so likable from the younger golf fans. You know, the one's who are so important to help grow the game as media members often refer to?? Ya, THOSE fans. He carries himself like the common golfer with his wit and humor and isn't afraid to walk the line sometimes when most golfers wouldn't dare go near it. He knew he blew his chances and just said "screw it."
For a guy that has finished six times as a runner-up in the U.S. Open, the crazy thing is that this might be his most memorable one to look back at when discussing the legacy of Phil Mickelson in U.S. Open's. What a legend, what a guy, that's lefty for ya.
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