Mickelson has had a frustrating weekend at Shinnecock Hills, one of the more reviled major courses among pros.
His playing partner surely did. "It just happens", Johnston said.
I can't believe what I just saw Phil Mickelson do at the U.S. Open.
Mickelson was strikingly remorseless about the incident. And I said to him, 'It's like someone's standing there slapping you in the face constantly for 18 holes, just slapping you in the face.' That's what it felt like.
Mickelson announced afterward that he made a stroke at his moving ball because he did not want to play the ball where it would eventually have come to rest.
He was taking advantage of the rules.
"I could have maybe hit a shot and somehow made the putt", he said. "It was amusing because I didn't think he hit that bad of a chip shot from behind the green in the first place". I know the rules and the ball was going to go off in a bad spot. He shot 81 for the round. "It was amusing because I didn't think he hit that bad a chip shot from behind the green in the first place".
However, Berger's score, which equalled the lowest of the week so far, proved that it was possible to make up ground, the world number 43 carding six birdies and two bogeys to move just outside the top 10. Apparently the thought of seeing the ball roll off the green was more than the freshly minted 48-year-old was ready to handle, so he gave it a hockey wrist shot back.
The tournament didn't end so well for fan-favorite Phil Mickelson.
"Sometimes it gets a little goofy, sure, but it's all within the rules", he said.
Mickelson enjoyed the challenge of bending the rules to skirt his mediocre play. But Tony Finau teed off 33 minutes before Mickelson and managed to shoot a 4-under 66, so it wasn't like it was totally unplayable.
It certainly was one of the most surreal moments of all the 118 U.S. Opens contested.
"I think there are times when it's strategic and I think knowing the rules is never a bad thing", he said. "I said, 'I'm sorry, but I've got to laugh at this"'. And if that's the way people took it, I apologize to them. I just didn't think well enough.
Later, according to USGA chief executive Mike Davis, Mickelson called to clarify the situation.
Starting with a real apology for a dumb idea.