Phil Mickelson rebounded from a disastrous third round at the U.S. Open with a 1-under 69 on Sunday, but his wife says he offered to withdraw altogether after his rule-breaking play on No. 13 the day before caused an uproar.
In a bizarre sequence, he chased after his own missed putt on the 13th hole and hit the ball again back toward the hole before it stopped moving. Mickelson was assessed a two-stroke penalty for the unsportsmanlike maneuver and wound up with a six-over 10 on the hole.
Mickelson’s 11-over 81 round matched his worst at a U.S. Open, which first occurred in the second round at Pebble Beach in 1992.
But on Sunday, he not only finished under par — he managed to shoot par on No. 13 and raised his arms in celebration afterward before throwing his ball into the crowd.
Amy Mickelson says her husband offered to withdraw after seeing reaction to his play on Saturday.
“When he heard that he called (USGA CEO) Mike Davis and said ‘If I’ve done something that crosses the line that much, then I need to withdraw immediately,’ “ she said, per Golfweek.
She says Davis told him he was within the rules and should play on.
“You know it’s not his finest moment, but hopefully he’ll learn from it. Like anybody, good people make mistakes. We all have a moment in life sometimes and that was kind of a moment I think for him,” Amy said.
Mickelson, who insisted Saturday he’d meant no disrespect, didn’t talk to reporters on Sunday, instead signing autographs for fans before leaving.
The United States Golf Association said Mickelson violated rule 14-5 — Playing Moving Ball.
“A player must not make a stroke at his ball while it is moving,” the rule states.
John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s senior managing director of championships, said Mickelson was informed of the rule violation on the course and accepted the penalty.
“Our committee mobilized quickly, our rules committee, and unanimously decided that this situation is specifically and explicitly covered under rule 14-5,” Bodenhamer said in a press conference. “... Phil didn’t purposely deflect or stop the ball, which is talked about in the reference of 14-5 if you look at it. (Rule) 14-5 explicitly covers the player making a stroke at a moving ball so we operated under that rule.”
—Field Level Media