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Phil Mickelson: Friend or Foe?

Saturday we saw something we haven’t seen in professional golf in a long time, if not ever.  Phil Mickelson made a move in an effort to save himself from something worse… or so he said.

Watching it live in the moment was a bit surreal.  Phil made a putt that was a miss and long and had a trajectory to continue down the hill and off the green what could have been a good 30-40 yards.  Once he realized it was heading to Timbuktu he dashed after the ball and hit it mid roll back up the hill.  Was he hitting the ball mid roll because he thought the pin placement and the USGA’s set up on the course was awful (once again) making a jab at them or was he trying to give himself the 2 stroke penalty and save himself from a probable 4 strokes from down below?  He claims the latter.  Do I believe him and do I think he is in the right?  Yes and no.

Golf is one of those unicorn sports that has a foundation of honesty, integrity, professionalism, and sportsmanship.  No other sport in existence has this ultimate combination.  So, did Phil mess with those core values or did he make a strategic and thoughtful move?  I so badly want to feel like he did but there is still this little (and I’m saying tiniest of tiny) inklings that some kids fresh to golf watched what I saw and thought, “hey that guy cheated.”  He most certainly didn’t cheat though.

At the root of all of this is the fact that the USGA has lined up not one, not two, but three dare I say questionable US Open settings.  No offense to the beautiful courses but the pin placement, course conditions and weather was not what I’d like to see as US Open quality.  In my humble opinion it wasn’t US Open golf.  It was links style European golf.  Leave The Open to Europe.  Give us American golf.  Give us one of the awesome stadium style courses.  Give us one of most prestigious of our great States.  Lucky for us, on the near horizon is Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines!

Truthfully, in my mind Phil’s actions are not controversial but we are in the digital age where social media opinions are king.  We see you Phil.  We see you and we still love you… maybe even more, especially since Sunday on the same hole you made the most amazing celebration with your finishing putt!

So… what say you?  Phil: Friend or Foe?

9 thoughts on “Phil Mickelson: Friend or Foe?

  1. friend. people said he disrespected the USGA . they did not set up the course “respectfully”! unless someone has played at that level working so hard to get there, and have to endure that for 4 days do they understand.

  2. BS That was simply Phil being a brat, angry and frustrated. The only way he did that intentionally, in order to save strokes, was if he made that decision before that first putt. Nobody can go thru that thought process in 2 – 3 seconds. And does anyone think Phil Mickelson has those type thoughts of such a negative outcome, prior to making a putt? Come on, Phil.

  3. Ron Couchot, USGTF

    The spirit of the rules was violated. This will funnel down to high school and JR golfers. We are already seeing cheating on an unprecedented scale. He has changed the game forever.

  4. Frustration can make you lose it. Phil was frustrated with the course, but more with himself. We all have been frustrated by something to the point that we do not think clearly for a split second. In my opinion, that is what happened.
    Following his round, Phil contacted the USGA and said that he understood if they wanted to disqualify him. He took responsibility and stated that the incident was “not my finest hour.”
    Incident over , move on.
    Phil is one of the “good guys.”

  5. Friend. I really believe Phil took this opportunity to show how poorly the courses are set up and his thoughts on it.. To have to layup a 10 foot put so you don’t roll off the green 50 feet. The U.S.G.A. every year seeks to embaress the best players in the world by their setup. Finally some one did something about it!

  6. I have always supported Phil, and followed him since his amateur days at ASU. He began to lose me with his throw Watson under the bus hijinx at 14 Ryder. His lack of ownership of his insider trading scam with Billy Walters was the next mis-step that lacked ownership and show of character. I’m afraid that saturday’s meltdown and subsequent explanation is my last time putting up with this petulant, arrogant, and disturbing behavior. He had a meltdown, he was unhappy with his play, he was angry that the USGA had failed to heed their own advice and previous mis-steps, and he knew that the hole placement on 13 was just atrocious. He did not-in a split second-decide to break the rule for the reasons that he said “on air”. He was cavalier, dismissive, and sophomoric in failing to admit his transgressions( like a child caught in a stupid act, trying to justify his actions). That he is 48 years old, a hall of fame member, a 5 major winner, a self proclaimed “Arnold Palmer” of his era, a world golf statesman/icom, and lastly a father of 4 children that look to him foe example- his behavior and explanation was immature, and dis-respected each and everything he represents. The USGA- in their usual gutless way- did not step up and immediately DQ him on the 14th tee like they should have- but it is equally wrong for anyone to make up excuses for a 48 year old supposed adult who acted out in this was. Tiger, Jack, Arnold, Hogan, Jordan Speith, no one other than John Daly would have acted this way. Phil needs to re-think his apology tour!!

  7. Phil was wrong in what he did and it’s a shame that he is trying to play if off as no big deal. Every player had to play the same hole. I’m sure he is intelligent , but this made him look like an idiot and a person who showed no respect for the game or the field.

  8. This is why golf is a dieing game- far,far too many over complicated rules that the majority don’t understand but a minority who have too much free time in their hands, can take advantage of. A simple ‘can’t hit a moving ball’ – end of would surfice. This myth about ‘honest golfers’ needs to be put to bed – it’s buncom- a game with such ridiculous rules is there because it fears cheating.

  9. Phil, right or wrong, good or bad is entertaining. He is just human. A very rich one. He is paid to give us something to watch. And advertisers pay big bucks for our attention. All in the name of entertainment. We all have the right to watch or not, to like or not, to pay or not. I laughed. Thanks Phil

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