Oh Phil, oh Phil, oh Phil!
What on earth was going through your mind on the 13th green at Shinnecock Hills when you jogged across the green to putt back your moving ball? It is the U.S. Open, not a kid’s holiday camp crazy golf outing.
Yes, ostensibly and strictly according to the narrow confines of rule 14.5, you can and did, get away with this and suffer a 2-shot penalty. But firstly, let’s reflect. Imagine this behaviour becoming acceptable so we would go down the road of football and their professional foul fiasco? No, we are surely an honourable game played by an honourable gentleman (apart from those mentioned above biffing in the locker room at Muirfield of course), and not shirt pulling lackeys. Imagine all the scenarios it could open up? I mean Sergio may have well decided to sprint, scale the water on the 15th at Augusta and stop his ball coming off that somewhat slippery green. It’s basically what Phil Mickelson did. Albeit Sergio would have to have moved pretty adroitly and made an Olympian leap. The imagination goes wild on the possible scenarios here.
However, I feel they shall reside most definitely in the imagination after Phil’s dauntingly embarrassing faux pas. And thank goodness.
It is nothing short of a disgrace that the golfing authorities, here the USGA, did not immediately disqualify him then and there. I am indeed flabbergasted by the comments made by John Bodenhamer, Senior Managing Director of championships and governance for the USGA. Firstly, he claims that this was not an extreme situation. Well in my book it indeed is as it’s never before occurred in the history of professional golf, at least to my knowledge. Maybe we have different understandings of the word ‘extreme’? But I don’t think it is a word with that subtle nuances.