US Open: Phil Mickelson explains freaky decision to hit a moving ball

He hustled after the putt - and hit it back toward the hole before it stopped rolling.

Phil Mickelson talked about the craziness on No. 13 after he finished his round Saturday at the U.S. Open. Instead of letting his ball come to rest, Mickelson smacked it back toward the hole, taking a two-stroke penalty.

He said he knew the ball was going to roll off the green, which is why he chose to hit it while it was still moving. Had he done the latter he would have been disqualified.

Mickelson, who has been a US Open runner-up six times, most recently in 2013, was having a miserable time Saturday before reaching 13. Not a good look for the birthday boy, who apparently is simply becoming a grumpy old man.

It was reminiscent of John Daly hitting a moving ball at Pinehurst No. 2 in the 1999 US Open. But Daly was always the combustible outlaw type, whereas Mickelson has a carefully cultivated image as one of the game's leading ambassadors.

Mickelson's playing partner, Andrew "Beef" Johnston, seemed to get a kick out of the whole thing. Then he kept on with his round and parred the most hard hole on the course, the 14th, still smiling and acknowledging fans.

More news: Fed Lifts Interest Rates, Expects 3.6% Unemployment

Mickelson marked his birthday by equalling his worst round in 27 US Open appearances, firing an 11-over 81 to match the score he shot at Pebble Beach 25 years earlier. I have had multiple times where I've wanted to do that.

"That was jarring", analyst Curtis Strange said.

Shinnecock Hills has been ripping apart the world's best players all week and it all must have just gotten to Mickelson.

Commentating on the incident for Fox, former Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger said: "That's the most out of character I have ever seen Phil".

And just in case you didn't understand, he added the following while speaking to reporters: "If somebody's offended by that, I apologize".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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