Update: Here’s a fuller explanation of what happened when Mickelson hit a moving putt at the 13th green on Saturday at the U.S. Open, and how the USGA penalized him.
Phil Mickelson, giving absolute no damns whatsoever, did something at the U.S. Open on Saturday that’s usually reserved for small children on a mini-golf course:
A remarkable sequence on Hole 13, where Phil Mickelson was assessed a two-stroke penalty for hitting a moving ball and ended up making a 10 on the hole. pic.twitter.com/kx6ieYiOGR— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) June 16, 2018
Mickelson’s bogey putt at the par-4 13th hole rolled well past the hole. He then started to run after it, and while the ball was still in motion, putted it again. The rules of golf (as set forth by the USGA, which runs this tournament) make it clear that you can’t do that. Mickelson’s illegal putt went back past the hole in the direction he’d initially come from.
He took a two-shot penalty, and he eventually made 10 instead of the 5 he was seeking. The hole moved Mickelson to an awful 10 over for the day and 16 over for the tournament. He finished 17 over, but the USGA didn’t disqualify him for a rules violation.
What was he thinking? We’ll probably hear from him later to that effect. It looked at first like he made an aggressive business decision to prevent his ball from rolling all the way down a slope on the fast greens at Shinnecock Hills. But you almost never see something like that.