‘A moment of madness’: ‘Beef’ Johnston weighs in on Phil Mickelson controversy

June 16, 2018

It seems that all you can do sometimes is laugh. That’s what ‘Beef’ Johnston told reporters when he was asked about watching playing partner Phil Mickelson stop his moving ball on the green on No. 13 at Shinnecock Hills today. Johnston refused to condemn Phil for the move, for which he received a two-stroke penalty.  

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Johnston said. “It’s something you might see at your home course with your mates or something. But it was just a moment — I think it’s just a moment of madness.”

Johnston characterized Phil’s behavior as being something that “just happens.” “We were both obviously really struggling,” he said. “It was funny because I didn’t think he hit that bad of a chip shot from behind the green in the first place. And as it released and went through, I thought wow, that is seriously quick. So to knock that past and then hit the putt going back towards back off the green, I think it’s just one of the moments where you’re not thinking about it….It wasn’t a thing of saying, I’ve had enough or this and that. It just happened.”

Mickelson claimed that what happened on No. 13 was “meant to take advantage of the rules as best as you can” and was not meant to be disrespectful to the tournament.

As for his own reaction, Johnston said he couldn’t help but laugh. “I said that’s one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen and then just started laughing, to be honest. I said I’m sorry, but I’ve got to laugh at this.”