Frustrated Mickelson swats moving ball with putter at Open
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — Phil Mickelson’s frustrations are getting the best of him at the U.S. Open to the point he hit a moving ball with his putter.
It was a shocking display on the 13th green at Shinnecock Hills on Saturday. Mickelson’s bogey putt from above the hole ran by the cup and was headed down a slope when he ran over and swatted it back toward the hole as the ball was still moving.
Mickelson is celebrating his 48th birthday, and it’s one he is sure to remember. With the two-shot penalty, he was given a sextuple-bogey 10 on the hole and was 10 over for his round. The 10 was the highest score on any hole at this U.S. Open, according to the USGA.
He finished with an 81.
Mickelson jogged after the ball after it curled around the hole, realizing it was about to head down the other side of the green. His swat sent the ball off the hole.
As he walked off the green, he could be seen smiling and talking to playing partner Andrew Johnston, who also was smiling.
Mickelson’s actions were reminiscent of John Daly hitting a moving ball at Pinehurst No. 2 in the 1999 U.S. Open. Daly was on No. 8 in the final round when he took an 11 on the hole and signed for an 81. He then said: “This is my last U.S. Open — ever. I’ve had it with the USGA and the way they run their tournaments.”
Guess what: He was back the next year at Pebble Beach, where he pumped three shots into the Pacific Ocean on the famed 18th and hit another shot into someone’s backyard. That made for a 14, a total of 83 in the first round, and a withdrawal.
Another player who let things get to him was Kirk Triplett in 1998 at Olympic Club. On the 18th hole in the second round, Triplett stuck his putter in the ground as a backstop when his ball was headed back down from the hole.
Mickelson was having a miserable time before reaching 13. He had four consecutive bogeys before parring the 12th, despite the serenading of “Happy Birthday” from the crowds at every hole. Mickelson managed to par 14 through 16 after his meltdown before bogeying 17.