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Mickelson melts down at U.S. Open

Hits moving ball, takes a 10 on a hole.

Mickelson explains himself on NBC's Golf Channel.
Mickelson explains himself on NBC's Golf Channel.

San Diego golfing legend Phil Mickelson today (June 16) shocked the golf world on the 13th green of the U.S. Open.

A putt rolled past the hole and was going downhill. Mickelson jogged after the ball and hit it while it was moving — a grave sin in golf. Ultimately, he got the ball in the hole, but had to take a two-stroke penalty for hitting a moving ball, He ended up with a ten on the hole.

That put him well out of contention on his 48th birthday. An announcer for Fox said Mickelson “snapped.” The golf world was stunned.

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Mickelson explains himself on NBC's Golf Channel.
Mickelson explains himself on NBC's Golf Channel.

San Diego golfing legend Phil Mickelson today (June 16) shocked the golf world on the 13th green of the U.S. Open.

A putt rolled past the hole and was going downhill. Mickelson jogged after the ball and hit it while it was moving — a grave sin in golf. Ultimately, he got the ball in the hole, but had to take a two-stroke penalty for hitting a moving ball, He ended up with a ten on the hole.

That put him well out of contention on his 48th birthday. An announcer for Fox said Mickelson “snapped.” The golf world was stunned.

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29

Could it be that his mind is on anything other than golf? He's not been a paragon of stability in a long time. Snapped? Yes, I guess you could say that.

June 18, 2018

Visduh: Afterward, he claimed that he did it deliberately, figuring that the ball would roll all the way down the hill and he might be better off taking the two-stroke penalty. Mickelson is known as a big gambler. Maybe he was gambling that the media and the fans would believe this explanation. However, he was smiling right after the stunt, so many may believe his tale. Best, Don Bauder

June 18, 2018

don bauder, So exactly why do you think he did it and did you actually see it as it happened?

June 18, 2018

danfogel: I only saw videos of the event. He was smiling afterward. I doubt his explanation that he felt he was sacrificing the two strokes because if the ball rolled down the hill his score would have been worse. I think it was a case of an old pro who loves to play to the audience, knowing he couldn't win, and not needing the money, providing some entertainment. Would he have been surrounded by fans and media right after his round if he had not pulled such a stunt? Best, Don Bauder

June 18, 2018

If he was smiling, it was because he knew that he couldn't win and decided to do some grandstanding. Good for entertainment I suppose.

June 18, 2018

Visduh: It may have been grandstanding that was actuated by frustration bordering on a meltdown. It was not one of his better days.

However, Mickelson, like all athletes, is an entertainer. He gets big bucks from TV ads. He is constantly playing to the gallery.

When I said, "like all athletes," this raises a point. Is golf a sport? Sure, it requires athleticism, but can you compare golf to football or basketball, which are clearly sports? I remember one fairly good golfer of yore, a former quarterback for the University of Illinois, who said that golf was not a sport. Next question: how about shootin' pool or snooker. Are they sports? Best, Don Bauder

June 18, 2018

I won't try to answer that question, 'cause I actually did spend time getting proficient at pocket billiards, i.e. pool. Ted Leitner had opinions that were strongly stated, and he said that neither professional hockey nor auto racing were sports. The auto racing was obvious, and I think he thought professional hockey had turned into a brawl and something more like professional wrestling.

June 18, 2018

Pool is a hustle game, not a sport.

June 18, 2018

dwbat: It is a. hustle game in pool halls, but what about all those homes having pool tables in their rec rooms? Best, Don Bauder

June 18, 2018

We have been discussing professional "sports" here, not home recreation.

June 19, 2018

dwbat: I didn't know the discussion was limited to professional sports. New question: Is a pool game in which money does not change hands a "sport?" Best, Don Bauder

June 19, 2018

Visduh: Hockey not a sport? I have never cared much about the sport, but on occasions when the TV was covering a hockey game, I marveled at the athletes' speed and agility on skates. Best, Don Bauder

June 18, 2018

I was mentioning comments from Ted Leitner from twenty or thirty years ago. Not my opinions necessarily; if pro hockey has cleaned up its act, it may even meet his definition of a sport.

June 20, 2018

Visduh: I have always wondered about hockey referees letting the players go on and on with a fight. I am told that is no longer true. Best, Don Bauder

June 20, 2018

Mike Murphy: I don't know of any dangerous drug used or touted on TV by Mickelson. Best, Don Bauder

June 20, 2018

Enbrel has documented serious side effects. But celeb endorsers rarely care about that stuff. They take the big money and run.

June 20, 2018

dwbat: Those athletes who are multi-millionaires have to protect themselves. Best, Don Bauder

June 20, 2018

Murphyjunk: I would guess that celebrities plugging products in ads have words in their contracts indicating that they have no liability if the product is found to be dangerous.

Remember Ted Leitner plugging Metabolife? Best, Don Bauder

June 20, 2018

NOTE: MICKELSON HAS NOW OFFICIALLY RELEASED AN APOLOGY. HE BLAMES HIS BEHAVIOR ON "FRUSTRATION." Best, Don Bauder

June 21, 2018

maybe his wife needs to give him the same good luck as Arnold Palmer's wife. that might reduce his frustration .

June 21, 2018

That might not work for Mickelson, as his wife carries his around in her purse.

June 21, 2018

danfogel: See response to Murphyjunk. Best, Don Bauder

June 21, 2018

Murphyjunk: I guess I won't be in trouble telling that story. Golfer Arnold Palmer and his wife were on the Johnny Carson show. Palmer's wife said that, to give her husband support, she kissed his balls before a tournament. Carson shot back, "Does that make his putter stand up?" She sued and I don't know what happened.

I think I have that story right. I didn't watch the show; just read about the incident. Best, Don Bauder

June 21, 2018

don bauder Urban legend. Never happened. Years ago, a review of the tonight Show archives confirms that it never happened, as Winnie Palmer was never a guest. Arnold Palmer himself said it never happened during an appearance on Leno. I believe it was October of 1994, Episode #3.182

June 21, 2018

Right, it's not true. It's always best to check snopes.com, when these urban legends come up. The problem is that too many people pass on false stories, and they never bother to check the facts. Here's the link for this one: http://www.snopes.com/fact-check/balls-up-2/

June 21, 2018

danfogel: If it's an urban legend it has taken in some good journalists. I remember reading it in a couple of reliable sports columns. I always puzzled why she would sue and on what grounds she could possibly sue. Best, Don Bauder

June 21, 2018

don bauder, You don't think some "good journalists" have been fooled on occasion? How about you? Have you never ever been fooled in your career? BTW, I would think that a "good journalist" would verify such an outlandish tale before going with it.

Just my opinion.

Opinions vary.

June 22, 2018

danfogel: Oh yes, I have been taken -- several times.

Had I put this yarn in a column or blog item, I would have checked it or hedged it. But I put it in a response to a poster's comment. We all take more liberties there. I write these responses hurriedly in most cases. So do posters. If I did not write these responses hurriedly, I wouldn't have time for anything else. Some day you should count up the number of responses I post. Best, Don Bauder

June 22, 2018

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