Mickelson 'didn't mean to disrespect anybody' by putting moving ball
Phil Mickelson said he did not mean to disrespect anyone when he let his emotions get the better of him by putting a moving ball at the U.S. Open on Saturday.
The five-time major champion shot an ugly 11-over 81 in round three while showing some clear disdain for the Shinnecock Hills course on his 48th birthday.
Mickelson hit a 15-foot putt by the cup on the 13th green and began racing after his ball, which threatened to fall down the false front.
Instead of letting his ball come to rest, the American smacked it back toward the hole, taking a two-stroke penalty.
Mickelson ultimately got a 10 on the par four to move back to 17 over for the week and revealed that he had considered the rule breach on previous occasions.
"I don't mean disrespect to anybody," Mickelson said after his round. "I know it's a two-shot penalty.
"At that 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."
While Mickelson claimed the decision was not made out of anger or malice, he was continuously asked if he felt the act was disrespectful.
"In that situation, I was just going back and forth. I would gladly take the two shots over continuing that display," Mickelson said.
"I've had an awesome day. It's been incredible. Singing happy birthdays, wishing happy birthdays. The people have made coming here over the decades an awesome experience. It's a fun birthday.
"I don't mean it in any disrespect. And if that's the way people took it, I apologise to them, but that's not the way it was taken. I took the two-shot penalty, moved on, and there's not much more to say."