Contributing to his downfall was a meltdown on the par four 13th. He was on the 13th hole and was putting down a steep slope, then hit his first putt way too hard, sending the ball tumbling down past the hole and seemingly headed off the green. Some of the pin positions were impossible to get at, to even leave yourself a 25-foot uphill putt.
"I don't mean disrespect to anybody", Mickelson told Fox Sports afterwards. He offered that he knows the rules and that taking a two-shot penalty was better than the alternative.
That's a move you don't see amateurs do in practice rounds, and Phil did it not only in competition, but in the U.S. Open!
"I've never seen anything like that from a world-class player in my life", odd said.
When you play with fire, you are likely to get burnt, and Henrik Stenson had no sympathy for USGA boss Mike Davis on Saturday night.
"I didn't feel like I played badly at all", he said.
Phil Mickelson appeared to have a moment of madness during Saturday's U.S. Open action.
Mickelson is no stranger to controversy and caused significant ructions at the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles when he criticized the captaincy of Tom Watson in the USA team's losing press conference.
In infamy, what he did will live on as one of the most memorable putts in the history of golf.
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What Mickelson did I have seen done before. "You know that they're trying to set this golf course up as close to the edge as possible", said Jim Furyk, who trails Finau, Berger, reigning champion Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson by three strokes entering the final round. "I've had multiple times where I've wanted to do that, I just finally did". He took the two-stroke penalty to avoid watching that ball keep rolling. "If Mickelson had "stopped" or 'deflected" the ball, he would have been disqualified.
However, John Bodenhamer, senior managing director of championships and governance for the USGA, said that was not discussed by the rules committee. Rather than wait to see where the ball might end up, Mickelson literally ran after the ball and hit it again as it was still moving.
"It is not an intent-based rule", he said. When you ask people who they're rooting for, Phil's name always comes up.
"I could have been going back (and forth) - I could still be out there potentially", Mickelson said.
And I don't know if I would have been able to save a shot or whatnot.
It seems that Mickelson avoided further penalty of disqualification because he did not stop the ball; while a technicality, he hit it while moving, which is deemed to be different and under consideration for a "serious breach of etiquette".
"I'm not as much of a Phil fan, so give him the DQ", he said.
Mickelson, who has been a U.S. Open runner-up six times, most recently in 2013, was having a miserable time Saturday before reaching 13.