One of the weirdest things you'll ever see from a golfer of Phil Mickelson's caliber. 

By Daniel Rapaport
June 16, 2018

Here's a weird one. A very, very weird one. 

Phil Mickelson, who turns 48 today, appeared to have putted a moving ball during the U.S. Open at Shinnecock. He was on the 13th hole and was putting down a steep slope, then hit his first putt way too hard, sending the ball tumbling down past the hole and seemingly headed off the green. 

Mickelson then jogged to get behind the ball and hit it while it looked to be still in motion. He was already four over at the time, and seemingly wanted to hit the ball before it kept on trundling down. 

The penalty for unknowingly striking a moving ball is two strokes, and it looks like he was indeed assessed that penalty. But one cannot knowingly and/or willfully break the Rules of Golf. From Rule 1-2:

Following his round, in which he finished 11 over, Mickelson explained his decision. "Look, I don't mean disrespect, I know it's a two-shot penalty. At that time, I didn't feel like going back and forth and playing that shot over," Mickelson said. "I've had multiple times I was thinking about doing that, and this time I finally did."

Update: The USGA's head of competitions and governance told reporters that Mickelson was assessed a two-stroke penalty under Rule 14-5, which addresses when a player hits a ball in play. He said Rule 1-2 did not come into play because Mickelson did not "stop or deflect" a ball. When asked for an example of stopping or deflecting a ball, he cited keeping a ball from rolling out of bounds. So it would appear that if Mickelson stopped the ball rather than hitting it, Rule 1-2 would have come into play and he would have been disqualified. 

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