USGA CEO admits US Open course was 'too tough'

USGA CEO admits US Open course was 'too tough'

USGA CEO admits US Open course was 'too tough'

Phil Mickelson says he was happy to take a two-shot penalty when he bizarrely chose to putt a moving ball on the 13 hole at the US Open on Saturday.

The controversial moment occurred after the five-times major champion missed a four-foot double-bogey putt and his ball continued to trickle down the hill, aided by both gravity and a strong tailwind.

Mickelson was faced with a 12-foot bogey putt and after sending it well past the hole, Lefty ran to his ball to hit it again before it went down the slope. Mickelson took a two stroke penalty before eventually making the shot. What are they going to do, take them away from me? "I would do it again". At that time, I just didn't feel like going back and forth, hitting the same shot over.

"If he acted like that all the time, I think that's different", she said.

"I know the rules", Mickelson said.

"I gladly take the two shots over continuing that display". When you ask people who they're rooting for, Phil's name always comes up.

John Bodenhamer, the USGA's managing director of championships and governance, took on the thorny question of Mickelson's wonderful swipe at his moving ball on the 13th green. Yes, I get that some people seem to take perverse enjoyment out of seeing the game's top players finding things way more hard than they are used to on a week-to-week basis, but no way is it good for the game as a spectacle to a worldwide audience for good shots to be severely punished, as was the case here.

If anything, the freaky series of events should force the U.S. Golf Association to rethink the implementation of its rule book.

"I've never seen anything like it".

This is one of the more surprising things you'll see. "It was odd, no one ever has those thoughts, it just happens".

Saturday, Phil Mickelson made himself a lightning rod in the holier-than-thou golf world. But it was just a moment - I think it's a moment of madness. The course won. So Mickelson touched his putt and it rolled well past the hole, and kept rolling on a downslope, headed for off the green entirely.

As for walking off the green chuckling, he insisted: "How can you not laugh?"

The incident on Mickelson's 48th birthday brought to mind a similar episode by John Daly at the 1999 US Open at Pinehurst No. 2. It would make golf a laughing stock, which is why Mickelson has a responsibility to admit, having had time to reflect, that he was out of order. It's a two-shot penalty on top of the score, so it ends up being a nine, and as of now it's on the scorecard as a such. This past week at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Koepka became just the seventh repeat champion in tournament history and first since Curtis Strange in 1988-89 with a 1-over 281.

"You have to understand that the USGA had pushed the notion that it wanted its US Open to be the biggest, baddest, toughest golf tournament in the world", Fay said recently, recalling the carnage of 2004.

"That's the most out-of-character I have ever seen Phil Mickelson", Azinger said. The USGA, pilloried for its complicity, held two news conferences Saturday to defend the ruling (and the set-up of the golf course for round three), then issued a statement Sunday morning that included another, equally dubious explanation of why it didn't disqualify Mickelson.

"That's good spin", he said.

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