Within minutes of Phil Mickelson’s decision to hit his moving golf ball on the 13th green at Shinnecock Hills on Saturday, social media became a cascade of opinions regarding what should be the outcome of his infraction at the U.S. Open. For some, a two-stroke penalty for breaking Rule 14-5 (playing a moving ball) was punishment enough. But for many—including a decent number of tour professionals—the crime deserved a stiffer sentence.
Here’s another look at what happened:
Where many questioned the way USGA officials handled the situation was in the interpretation that Mickelson did not “purposely” deflect or stop his ball. Had they decided that was the case, Rule 1-2 would come into effect and could have allowed them to disqualify Mickelson for his actions. But
As you can see from this sample of social media posts, Mickelson’s peers weren’t in agreement:
Where many were stopped was when they heard Mickelson’s explanation for what he did.
"Look, I mean no disrespect by anybody," Mickelson said. "I know it's a two-shot penalty, and at the time I just didn't feel like going back and forth and hitting the same shot over. I took the two-shot penalty and moved on. It's my understanding of the rules. I've had multiple times where I've wanted to do that. I just finally did.
"It was going to go down in the same spot behind the bunker. I wasn't going to have a shot. I don't know if I was able to save a shot or not. I know it's a two-shot penalty hitting a moving ball. I tried to hit it as close as I could on the next one, and you take the two shots and move on."
The critics claim was that there seemed to be intent that would suggest he purposely stopped the ball.
Others weren’t willing to go so far as to say they would have disqualified Mickleson, but did post comments while looking for the sarcasm font on their keyboards.