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Morri: Mickelson Tries To Clean Up His Mess

Mickelson has apologised for hitting a still moving ball at Shinnecock Hills last week
So, Phil Mickelson has now apologised for his extraordinary outburst Saturday afternoon of the US Open at Shinnecock Hills, bringing to an end a chain of events that eerily mirrors the way the five-time major champion goes about his golf.

In a move akin to posting a run of triple bogey-birdie, Mickelson has admitted that slapping at his still moving ball on the 13th green was an act of frustration, not a calculated move to save strokes, and said he is sorry.

One of the most popular golfers in the world, Mickelson obviously noted the reaction to his meltdown was not what he expected and realised it was time to do some damage control.

Of course, the whole four-day ordeal could have been avoided had Lefty just been honest in the first place.

Taking a swipe at the ball before it stopped was a serious error in judgement but to later claim it was a spur of the moment decision, based on an extraordinarily intimate knowledge of the rules, was a huge miss.

Had Mickelson walked off the course and said simply that the conditions were ridiculous and he had finally lost patience with it the bulk of fans - already pre-programmed to be anti USGA come US Open time - would have been almost unanimously on his side.

But his apparent need to be the ‘smartest person in the room’ got the better of him and he paid a heavy price.

His credibility took a hit among media, fans and fellow players alike and Mickelson clearly came to the same conclusion Wednesday US time.

He sent a group text to several US golf writers which read: “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.”

Kudos to Mickelson for seeing his error and doing the only thing he could to try to correct it.

But like a triple bogey on a scorecard, it can never be completely erased and while the mea culpa might count as a birdie there are two strokes lost that can never be regained.


Mickelson is rightly a darling of the media as he works hard in press conferences to be interesting and thoughtful and is among the most accessible super stars in any sport.

His swashbuckling style of play, and legendary autograph signing prowess, makes him one of the most entertaining players in history and an understandable fan favourite.

Commercially, he is relaxed and confident in front of both a camera and a live audience and is an excellent ambassador for some heavyweight corporations. 

And until this past weekend there had never been any whiff of rules controversy over any part of his career. Now there is.

Mickelson is to be applauded for admitting he got it wrong and it would be unfair were this incident to tarnish his whole career.

But by the same token, who among us will ever be able to completely forget what happened on that 13th green Saturday afternoon?

It is ironic that in the same week one of the game’s greatest ambassadors of the past was lost that one of its best of modern times should be mired in a rules controversy.

That Peter Thomson would ever do what Mickelson did is inconceivable and while Phil is to be given credit for having the courage to apologise, the game would have been better served if the whole sorry incident had never happened in the first place.


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