US Open: Phil Mickelson criticized for putting moving ball

US Open: Phil Mickelson criticized for putting moving ball

June 17 (UPI) — Veteran golfer Phil Mickelson was criticized for putting a moving ball at the 2018 US Open.

Mickelson decided on the move on the 13th hole Saturday at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y. He finished the hole with a sextuple-bogey, make a 10 on the par 4.

Mickelson began the hole with a 219 yard drive to the left fairway. He hit his next shot 176 yards, leaving it 35 yards from the hole. His third shot put him within 58 feet of the hole. Mickelson’s fourth shot went on the green, 18 feet from the hole.

He putted his fifth stroke, sending the ball past the hole to the right. Instead of letting the ball roll of the green, Mickelson sprinted over and hit it back toward the hole, while it was still moving. The shot rolled off of the cup to the right. Mickelson took a two stroke penalty before eventually making the shot.

Analysts and fellow golfers criticized Mickelson for the move.

“Absolutely 100 percent conduct unbecoming … he’s trying to embarrass the @USGA DQ his [expletive],” Steve Elkington tweeted.

“That’s the most out of character I’ve ever seen Phil Mickelson,” Fox analyst Paul Azinger said. “He just snapped.”

Mickelson — who was also celebrating his 48th birthday — explained the move after the round.

“I didn’t mean it disrespectfully, but if you’re going to take it that way, that’s not on me,” Mickelson told reporters. “I’m sorry you’re taking it that way.”

The No. 20 golfer in the world made par on holes 14, 15, 16 and 18, but hit another bogey on 17 to finish 11-over-par for the day. Mickelson sat in 63rd place after the third round at 17-over-par.

Americans Daniel Berger, Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson lead the US Open at 3-over-par after three rounds.