Philip is back and he’s breaking the rules on the weekend again.
I cannot wait for the exotic penalty that Phil Mickelson will incur at the Scottish Open in order to keep his streak alive. After inciting chaos at the U.S. Open a few weeks ago by putting a moving ball, Phil found another way to get dinged two strokes this weekend at the Greenbrier (the official name of this golf tournament is now A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier but we will refer to it as simply “Greenbrier” henceforth).
Early in Sunday’s final round, Phil put a peg in the ground at the 7th hole and prepared hit a low burner off the tee box. But he noticed a tuft of taller fescue grasses at the front of the tee box that looked like it might get in the way of the path he wanted to take on this tee shot. So Phil ambled up to the front of the tee box and patted it down just a bit. Then he set up to hit his shot and realized he may have just made a mistake. He asked his playing partner if he thought it was a penalty, then shook his head in disbelief, and hit his shot.
After consulting a rules official, Phil Mickelson assessed himself a 2-stroke penalty for improving his line of play (violation of Rule 13-2). pic.twitter.com/61GiY5ggaj
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 8, 2018
Per Phil’s request, a rules official did roll up to the scene and confirm that what he did was against the rules.
It’s not deliberate like scampering across a green and taking a swipe at your moving ball, but it’s still “improving your line of play” and that will be a penalty. This generally happens on different parts of the course that are not the tee box, but Phil found a way to bring the rule into play there too. There’s now debate about whether this is a stupid rule or not — there is an arcane element to not being able to do something simple like this on a tee box.
One thing that’s probably not up for debate is that Phil should have known that he couldn’t do that, even if it is rare for this 13-2 rule to come into play up on the tee. Mickelson made a double bogey 6 on the hole after taking the penalty. He’s tied for 55th, near the bottom of the leaderboard again but that’s never stopped him from becoming a story on the weekend. We can’t wait to see what rule he breaks next in Scotland.