Phil Mickelson returns to scene of crime as a changed man

Phil Mickelson looking at his shot as it flies through the air

It would be a bit of a masochistic move from any pro to actually put this into play, knowing the firestorm of criticism Phil created Saturday, but under these circumstances, doesn't Phil-hockey sound like an extremely legitimate strategic decision?

Mickelson went so far as to speak with United States Golf Association executive director Mike Davis after the backlash from the putting faux pas.

"I've never seen anything like that from a world-class player in my life", said unusual.

Fearing the ball was going to roll off the green, Mickelson jogged after his ball and hit it back towards the hole as it was still moving.

"That's... that's stunning", commentator Joe Buck said.

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"He's a good man who had a bad moment", Amy Mickelson said.

"Look, everybody's got to play it so I'm not saying either way", he said. He offered that he knows the rules and that taking a two-shot penalty was better than the alternative.

"To go to Rule 1-2, Phil didn't purposely deflect or stop the ball, which is talked about in the reference under Rule 14-5", he said. After all, Mickelson admittedly took an intentional swing at it while it was moving, which could have fallen under another rule (1-2) declaring that "a player must not take an action with the intent to influence the movement of a ball in play".

Phil Mickelson caused a social media storm and much discussion between fans, pundits and players when the multiple major champion chose to deliberately make a stroke at his moving ball on the 13th green at Shinnecock Hills on Saturday.

"Phil really did want to understand how the rule operates", Davis said, via Randall Mell of the Gold Channel. "Over the back on 15 at Augusta". I just finally did ... "I took two shots and got to play the next hole". Yep, that's the difference in the rules.

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No, this was Mickelson's attempt to be the smartest guy in golf once again. Joe Buck announced after Mickelson had made par at the next hole that his score on the 13th had been changed to a sextuple-bogey 10.

An action taken for the sole goal of caring for the course is not a breach of rule 1-2. Obviously, he knows the rules.

The USGA opted not to disqualify Mickelson for Sunday, although there would have been grounds to do so.

The USGA assessed a two-stroke penalty but many golf rules experts have said in the hours since that he should have been disqualified on the spot. "Yes, you read that correctly".

The player added: "It's certainly not meant to disrespect the championship". He said he knew he would incur the penalty but wanted to move on to the next hole.

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