SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Phil Mickelson was the talk of the tournament on Saturday at the U.S. Open, and it all centered around his 13th green controversy.
Mickelson’s bogey putt from 18 feet missed the cup and started rolling off the green, but before it could Mickelson hit it back toward the cup while it was still moving. Citing Rule 14-5, the USGA penalized Mickelson two strokes.
“Phil didn’t purposely deflect or stop the ball, which is talked about in the reference under Rule 14-5, if you look at it,” said the USGA’s John Bodenhamer. “(Rule) 14-5 explicitly covers a player making a stroke at a moving ball, and so we operated under that rule.”
The Shinnecock greens have played fast all week, and they were giving players fits on Saturday. Zach Johnson even went as far as to say the USGA “lost the golf course.”
But despite the length of the grass and strength of the wind making these greens even faster, they are tough to begin with. Take a three-dimensional look at the 13th, which tormented Mickelson, below, courtesy of our friends at GolfLogix, whose new Putt Breaks green-reading feature helps users see speed, direction and breaks.
Mickelson’s initial putt — which he eventually stopped from rolling off the green — is represented by the red dot. The black dot is the pin location for the day, which was 13 paces on and six paces from the right edge. The arrows on the graphic show the contour and slope of the green, and you can see how much it falls off in the front and funnels balls dangerously close to the green-side bunker. Mickelson was well aware of it.
“It was going to go down in the same spot behind the bunker,” Mickelson said. “I wasn’t going to have a shot.”
For more information on Putt Breaks or to download the GolfLogix app, click here.