The reaction of some to Phil Mickelson setting the golfing world ablaze with his deliberate rule breaking is one of – who cares?
Mickelson was nowhere near contending for the U.S. Open when he scored a sextuple bogey 10 on the 13th hole yesterday, and did exploit a loophole of the sometimes archaic rules of golf when incurring a two shot penalty rather than face a worse score after a woeful putt.
For the purists, however, the unexpected move to putt a moving ball from one of golf’s greatest ambassadors was a stain on the game, with many calling for the five-time major winner to be disqualified or to withdraw from the event.
While it won’t affect the outcome of the tournament, those at the lower end of the leaderboard are still competing for world ranking points, prize money, and Ryder Cup points. That the rules of the game were used deliberately to circumvent regular play has caused much consternation, even among fellow players.
They can consult this rule or that, choose to frame it one way rather than another, but Phil Mickelson cheated today. If you cheat at golf you're meant to be disqualified; some would say you're meant to be banned. He won't, but he'd be wise to withdraw.
— Ben Coley (@BenColeyGolf) June 16, 2018
Phil says he hit a moving ball because he chose to take a 2 shot penalty over playing from where the ball would've ended up. Not meant to be disrespectful but "take advantage of the Rules".
I'll make this point: Tiger, Jack, Arnold never would have done that. Never. #USOpen
— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) June 16, 2018
"One of the most unbelievable things I've seen on a golf course."@Oliver_Wilson on Phil Mickelson hitting a moving ball after a poor putt.
— BBC 5 live Sport (@5liveSport) June 16, 2018
Who will b the guys that finish behind Phil? Literally losing money to the amazing moving golf ball whacker guy
— Willy Wilcox (@willwilcoxgolf) June 17, 2018
Phil is the only one who could give that bs answer and have a ton of people believe he thought it out before. Secondly, if he had thought through it, isn’t that grounds for dq?
— Tag Ridings (@TaggsGolf) June 16, 2018
His unapologetic attitude (though he did issue an apology of sorts while telling those offended to ‘toughen up’) hasn’t endeared him to the critics, foremost of those being British golf writer John Hopkins, who didn’t hold back in his assessment of Mickelson’s actions while speaking to FOX Sports’ Holly Sonders.
“I think he was a chump”, Hopkins stated bluntly, via Brendan Porath of SB Nation. “In Britain, we would call him an ass. A silly ass.”
“What worries me more is that he shows little contrition. He doesn’t look to me like he realises what has happened and how he’s offended so many people.”
Oh hell yeah ? ?????? pic.twitter.com/WUQxwYAf43
— Brendan Porath (@BrendanPorath) June 17, 2018
— Scott Michaux (@ScottMichaux) June 17, 2018
Far from backing down on his defensive stance as we surmised he might do last night, Phil’s reaction to his par putt on the same hole today as if he had just completed the Grand Slam suggests that he is still unrepentant about what occurred.
Phil's return to 13 today ? pic.twitter.com/vxNNEcUxpx
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) June 17, 2018