Days after Phil Mickelson’s stunning decision to hit a moving golf ball during the third round of last week’s US Open, the takes on why he did it – and how he and the USGA should have handled it afterwards – are still coming in. But overnight, Australian time, we finally heard again from someone whose opinion matters most: Phil Mickelson himself.
Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski relayed this apologetic note he received from the five-time Major champ:
Just received a note from Phil Mickelson. “I know this should've come sooner, but it's taken me a few days to calm down. My anger and frustration got the best of me last weekend. I'm embarrassed and disappointed by my actions. It was clearly not my finest moment and I'm sorry. “
— Dave Shedloski (@DaveShedloski) June 20, 2018
In case Dave’s tweet isn’t loading, here’s what Mickelson wrote:
“I know this should’ve come sooner, but it’s taken me a few days to calm down. My anger and frustration got the best of me last weekend. I’m embarrassed and disappointed by my actions. It was clearly not my finest moment and I’m sorry.”
After that bizarre third-round penalty, Mickelson claimed he took the two-stroke penalty as a strategy to avoid hitting another shot from off the 13th green.
“Look, I mean no disrespect by anybody,” Mickelson said that day. “I know it’s a two-shot penalty, and at the time I just didn’t feel like going back and forth and hitting the same shot over. I took the two-shot penalty and moved on. It’s my understanding of the rules. I’ve had multiple times where I’ve wanted to do that. I just finally did.”
But with this note, Mickelson appears to be admitting to his surprising action being more the result of frustration from a round so difficult that even the USGA acknowledged they’d erred in setting up Shinnecock Hills that day. Many believe the USGA should have disqualified the six-time US Open runner-up, but he was allowed to remain in the tournament.
Mickelson spoke to the media after that third-round 81, but didn’t talk to reporters after his closing 69. However, his wife, Amy, told Golfweek her husband called USGA executive director Mike Davis on Saturday and offered to withdraw. Although the note of clarification and remorse should go a long way with some, we’re guessing this isn’t the last time he’s asked to speak on the subject.