Written by Dr Jim Tunney on June 27, 2018
On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS June 25, 2018, #698…Lefty’s Frustration!
After further review…Phil Mickelson is one of professional golf’s finest gentlemen – on and off the golf course. This writer has met both he and his wife Amy. It’s a couple you’d like to have over for dinner, but maybe not on Saturday, June 16, 2018. That was Phil’s 48th birthday and he celebrated it with a moment of frustration. The 118th U.S. Open Golf Championship was being held at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, NY. The tournament was in the 3rd round, when, on Hole # 13 (374 yard-par 4), Mickelson was putting for a bogey. His putt overshot the hole and was rolling downhill off the green, when…
Phil chased the ball and hit it back toward the hole as it was still moving. Well, what’s wrong with that, you say? In fact, maybe you or one of your golfing buddies have done the same thing in your Saturday morning outing. However, according to Rule 14.5 in the U.S.G.A. book, it’s a 2-stroke penalty. “Stunning” is what Fox Announcer Joe Buck said on the air. Many were stunned that a professional golfer would do that, and especially, a gentleman like Mickelson. Golf, indeed, is a gentlemen’s (and of course, ladies’) game. You just don’t do that.
Mickelson knew the rule but not being in contention for the tournament lead at that point, he would take his “2-stroke penalty and just move on,” and he did as hustled to the 14th tee. A few days later Mickelson issued an apology. Many comments were made about the sanctity of the game of golf as well as (and only in New York) some wisecracks. One New Yorker perhaps said it best, “He did what the (NY) Mets can’t do, and that’s hit a moving ball.” (Rim shot!)
Some golfing rules are not well-understood or explained. Golfers wonder: Why are we allowed only 14 clubs in our golf bag? Why are we assessed a one-stroke penalty when, by accident, our ball moves just slightly with no yardage gained? And why, if our ball should land in a divot created by a previous golfer, can’t we replace it out of that divot?
Our local AT&T Pebble Beach Junior Golf Association is beginning its summer lessons program for junior golfers, who will be instructed by local professional golfers on the Rules of Etiquette – primary of which is respect for the rules as written. Golf has been successful for centuries because of golfers adherence to its rules.
Will you log-in your thoughts about the value of rules?
To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.