During the third round of the US Open, Phil Mickelson did something that we never see in competitive golf.
Phil had a putt of a few feet on a very fast green. He made his stroke and the ball missed the hole and was rolling toward a big slope that would have probably sent the ball far away outside the green. He ran toward his ball and purposely made a stroke at his moving ball to send it closer to the hole.
Phil has a high opinion of himself and he brags a lot that he knows the Rules of Golf. He often uses the rules at his advantage.
Rule 14-5: If a player makes a stroke at a moving ball he incurs a 2-stroke penalty and the stroke counts.
Rule 1-2: A player must not take an action to influence the movement of a ball in play… In case of a serious breach of Rule 1-2, the Committee may impose a penalty of Disqualification.
The USGA decided to use Rule 14-5 and penalized Phil 2 strokes. Actually Rule 14-5 is the only rule applicable when making a stroke at a moving ball.
The ball would have finish its journey far away with a very difficult shot to do. He decided to take the 2-stroke penalty instead of going back behind the bunker……because he knew the rules permitted to do that!!!!
For some different reasons, the USGA wants its championship courses to be very difficult and on the edge. The speed of the green are often very close to 13 or 14 on the Stimpmeter.
Did Phil want to send a message to the USGA that he finds the course set-up a little bit over the edge? He said NO.
I welcome all your comments on the matter.