Mickelson was nowhere near contending for the U.S. Open when he scored a sextuple bogey 10 on the 13th hole yesterday, and did exploit a loophole of the sometimes archaic rules of golf when incurring a two shot penalty rather than face a worse score after a woeful putt.
Mickelson is one of the professional tour's most loved golfers, the US Golf Association (USGA) will now weigh up if his actions warrant disqualification from the tournament.
"USGA's John Bodenhamer says Phil Mickelson was assessed a penalty for violating Rule 14-5, but not Rule 1-2, because, "He didn't purposely stop or deflect the ball, '" Sobel wrote on Twitter". It was amusing because I didn't think he hit that bad of a chip shot from behind the green in the first place.
Officials said the two-stroke penalty was the appropriate sanction for violating the rule that bars players from making a stroke of a moving ball. Mickelson sat in 63rd place after the third round at 17-over-par.
The first two days of the tournament have seen near capacity crowds flood onto the course, about 26,000 on Thursday and more than 29,000 on Friday including spectators, vendor staff and volunteers.
Mickelson's playing partner, Andrew "Beef" Johnston, said he saw Mickelson hit the moving ball and asked himself, "Is this actually happening?" It's my understanding of the rules. As his bogey putt on the par-4 was going by the cup, he decided he didn't want to play "Army golf" (left, right, left, right) and whacked it back toward the hole. "I've had it with the USGA and the way they run their tournaments".
The incident will always dog the colourful and often controversial Californian - he later told critics to "toughen up" - but Mickelson's mad-cap moment was just the start on a insane day at Shinnecock Hills.
Mickelson said. "It's amusing".
"It wasn't a thing of saying, 'I've had enough or this and that.' It just happened".
CURTIS STRANGE: You're really admired around this golfing world, especially here at the US Open. "I've had multiple times where I've wanted to do that, I just finally did". I said, 'I'm sorry, but I've got to laugh at this.' I've never seen anything like it.
Mickelson carded a 10 for the hole.
And I don't know if I would have been able to save a shot or whatnot.
Shortly after Mickelson finished, Zach Johnson launched a scathing attack on the course set-up.