What did you think of the U.S. Open a couple of weeks ago?
Based on the winning score of +1, I’d say that the tournament was exactly what the USGA had hoped for.
It’s been long believed that Even Par was the goal for a U.S. Open winning score. Well, mission accomplished after Brooks Koepka bogeyed the final hole to finish at +1.
However, the tournament seemed to have been overshadowed by a major lapse in judgement by a top player during the third round.
Did Phil Mickelson SERIOUSLY just do that?
That’s all I could think when I caught the replay of Mickelson’s putting gaffe on the 13th green during Saturday’s third round.
As his long bogey putt cruised past the hole, it was clear that his ball was about to roll off the green and likely down the fairway. In a moment unlike I’ve ever witnessed on a competitive level, Mickelson sprinted to stop his ball and putt it back towards the hole.
Ultimately, the USGA determined that the penalty would be two-strokes for striking a moving ball. The rules of golf clearly state: Rule 14-5 — a player must not make a stroke at his ball while it is moving.
The penalty for this breach is two-strokes.
As unnerving as it was to watch this take place, I was more upset by the response Mickelson gave to reporters after his round had concluded. Rather than accepting the blame and admitting that his emotions got the best of him in the moment, Mickelson claimed that he stopped his ball because of his knowledge of the rules of golf.
Based on this admission, Mickelson should have been disqualified according to another rule: Rule 1-2 — Ball purposely deflected or stopped by player, partner or caddie.
The penalty for this breach is disqualification.
I’m not claiming that I would have preferred to see Mickelson disqualified for this breach. However, the arrogance in his response to the situation is what bothered me.
Meanwhile, Koepka just made history by claiming his second consecutive U.S. Open. This is rare territory and had not happened since Curtis Strange won back to back in 1988-1989.
I hope that Koepka receives the accolades he deserves for his amazing accomplishment. He persevered while others around him collapsed.
I’ll be curious to see what this tournament is ultimately remembered for.
Though it ought to be remembered for what Koepka accomplished, it may instead be remembered for Mickelson and his lack of judgement.