Phil Mickelson chases after, hits moving ball on green | US Open

Phil Mickelson putting meltdown at U.S. Open is epic (Video)

Mickelson is celebrating his 48th birthday, and it's one he is sure to remember. The US Open is supposed to be so much harder than any tournament played during the year, and relatively the stats prove it was entirely fair.

Mickelson, who has been a runner-up at the US Open six times, descended into meltdown mode when he struck a putt while the ball was still moving. For me, who is finding it hard to play double-digit golf anymore, that would be a blessing.

Mickelson's comments seem to suggest he was attempting to gain an advantage. This was his way to bend the rules and take a shot at the USGA at the same time for making the green so hard.

Mickelson and playing partner Andrew Johnston were laughing about the incident as they walked off the green and Mickelson added: "How can you not laugh? But it was just a moment-I think it's just a moment of madness".

The moment was one thing.

Mickelson certainly had a better day than on Saturday, but he likely has not heard the last of questions about his decision Saturday and the subsequent explanation. No punishment would have been good enough, according to some golfers and broadcasters. "We are operating strictly under [Rule] 14-5, which is pretty clear that he played a moving ball". I took the two-shot penalty and moved on.

"I don't mean it disrespectful; if you're taking it that way, that's not on me, " Mickelson said immediately after the round. I was reminded that it is just "a game", although I would be happy to take home the $27,952 that Mickelson won for finishing in 48th place. In that situation, I would gladly take the two shots.

Poulter also fell foul of the conditions, particularly on the 15th hole, when his "perfect bunker shot" landed five feet short of the hole.

Mickelson will start the final round at +17 after having carded a damaging 81 on Saturday, extinguishing any lingering hopes of him completing his career grand slam at Shinnecock.

Again, he took a 10 on the hole - the highest score for any hole in the U.S. Open - and he was 21 shots behind the leaders at that time.

Worse yet, there was clearly some premeditation involved.

"I just didn't feel like going back and forth and hitting the same shot over, " he said. "But he's going to take it on the chin for this one".

"I said 'That's one of the strangest things I've ever seen".

Tight pin positions, coupled with greens which grew harder and faster as the wind and sun dried them out, limited scoring in the afternoon, with two-time major champion Zach Johnson, who had a two-over 72 to drop to eight over, suggesting the course had "surpassed" the limit of fairness and playability.

Players bending the rules is nothing new, of course.

The guys in the green jackets would have sent him packing before he had a chance to change out of his golf shoes.

After a nice drive into the fairway, he hit his approach to the right of the green some 35 yards from the hole.

Phil and Amy Mickelson, pictured at the Presidents Cup.

John Daly did it in the 1999 US Open at Pinehurst, so it's not like it's never happened before.

"How can you not laugh?"

'If someone is offended I apologise, but toughen up.

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