Phil Mickelson apologizes for hitting moving ball at US Open

Phil Mickelson’s frustration boils over in shocking rule breach

The five-time major champion was assessed a two-shot penalty and signed for an 11-over 81 on his 48th birthday amid calls for him to be disqualified.

"I don't think it's any breach of etiquette or anything like that", he said. Mickelson disrespected a game that holds honor in greater esteem than nearly any other, in which players call penalties on themselves when no one else can see the infraction.

Mickelson is celebrating his 48th birthday, and it's one he is sure to remember.

Despite an impressive win from Brooks Koepka at the U.S. Open last week, most eyes were on Phil Mickelson and the USGA.

Mickelson took a two-shot penalty for the infraction, then finished up for what was initially reported to be a quadruple bogey nine. Mickelson's fourth shot went on the green, 18 feet from the hole. "It just happened. End of story", he wrote.

While many don't care for the USGA and their setups, I enjoy them. I did not feel like continuing going back and forth.

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Phil Mickelson of the United States plays a shot during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 10, 2018 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

"That's the most out of character I've ever seen Phil Mickelson", Fox analyst Paul Azinger said. Not a single player could break par, though there were 13 major champions in the field, and balls slid around on discolored greens like they were on glass. While Mickelson was already well behind the tournament's leaders at that point, more than a few observers felt that he was guilty of cheating, rather than simply having harmlessly given into frustration, and should have withdrawn or been disqualified. I've had multiple times where I have wanted to do that, I just finally did it. "That would have saved me a shot or two back then". "If you look at it, rule 14-5 explicitly covers a player making a stroke at a moving ball, and so we operated under that rule".

"Heck, even before I started working there that was the image of the Open". Had he played the ball conventionally, he risked a score higher than the 10 he ended up getting on the par 4 hole. "Sometimes in these situations it is just easier to take the two shots and move on". I don't mean any disrespect to anyone and if that's the way it was taken, I apologise to them. He knew the rule, and exploited it.

However, U.S. Golf Association rules chief John Bodenhamer said Mickelson's breach did not reach such a level.

"Honestly, I said to him, 'I can't help but laugh, '" he said. Dustin Johnson, who tees off at 3:10 p.m. today, has a strong lead at four-under, the only player under par.

It certainly was one of the most surreal moments of all the 118 U.S. Opens contested. "Seven over is usually a awful score, but with the greens the way they got this afternoon - they were very, very hard", he said.

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