Phil Mickelson on Tuesday at the Masters took the Lexi Thompson rules controversy to a whole new level, stating that some of his PGA Tour peers are less than fastidious when they replace golf balls after marking them on the greens.
The three-time Masters winner declined to comment on what happened with Thompson, who was assessed a four-shot penalty late into her final round in Sunday’s ANA Inspiration. Instead, Mickelson chose to open a whole new line of inquiry by claiming that improper ball placement is a regular occurrence among the boys.
“Rather than address that specific instance, what I would say is this: I know a number of guys on tour that are loose with how they mark the ball and have not been called on it,” Mickelson said. “I mean, they will move the ball two, three inches in front of their mark, and this is an intentional way to get it out of any type of impression and so forth and I think that kind of stuff needs to stop.”
Without blaming anyone in particular, Mickelson said he wants tour officials to police the miscreants.
“I think it should be handled within the tour. I think that the tour should go to those players and say, ‘look, we've noticed you've been a little lax in how precise you've been in marking the ball. We'd like you to be a little bit better at it,’ and see if that doesn't just kind of fix the thing.”
Mickelson also believes that justice was not served on Thompson, who, video evidence showed, seemed to replace her ball less than an inch from its original position. The hard-luck loser of the first major of the season has received support from a score of golfers, including Tiger Woods, for being penalized because a TV viewer brought the video to the LPGA Tour’s attention.
Thompson said immediately after losing to So Yeon Ryu on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff that what she did “was 100 percent not intentional at all,” and Mickelson said the wrong person won the event.
“To have a tournament be decided like that, with all the scenarios going around, as far as viewers calling in, as far as it being a one-foot putt with really no advantage, just a little bit of loose marking, if you will, something that happens all the time, intentionally and unintentionally,” he said. “I think it should be reversed. I think that she should be given the trophy.”
Breaking; Phil Mickelson to setup Task Force to reverse Lexi decision. #masters. Splendid.— Tweeter Alliss (@TweeterAlliss) April 4, 2017
That’s certainly not going to happen, but Phil’s pals may find themselves under a bit more scrutiny going forward.
“I feel like we've all kind of been a little lax at times in the markings of our golf ball, and I hate to see it cost somebody a major championship because of that,” said Mickelson. “But yet, I would like to see that type of nuance of the game improved on both tours, especially ours.”