Phil Mickelson Showed Some Real Character by Calling a Penalty on Himself

Another week and another story on none other than, you guess it, Phil Mickelson. Last time Mickelson got involved with the rule book was after his outlandish putting display at the U.S. Open. But this week Mickelson called the penalty on himself.

On Sunday, Mickelson called a 2-stroke penalty on himself for violating Rule 13-2—improving your line of play. The rule states:

“A player must not improve or allow to be improved his line of play or a reasonable extension of that line beyond the hole by removing or pressing down sand, loose soil, replaced divots or other cut turf placed in position.”

Waiting to play hole No.7, a 439-yard par four, Mickelson was seen patting down some of the fescue in front of the tee box. This was technically determined to be ‘improving his lie’ which is in  violation of the rule.

Immediately after, Mickelson was heard saying this to his caddy,

“I’m not sure what I just did is legal…I’ll ask somebody.”

Mickelson went on to double-bogey the hole and finish the day at 4-over par (74), dropping him 27 spots into a tie for 65.

“I just had a few bonehead moves today,” Mickelson said after the round. “I wasn’t really having my best day focus-wise.”

In his post-round press conference, Mickelson went into further detail about what happened on the tee box at No.7.

“Oh, I just — I wasn’t really thinking. I just had a few bonehead moves today. But you can move stuff on the tee box, but I’ve been working on this really low shot for the next two weeks, and there was some fescue in front that was low, and I stepped on it. Right when I did, I thought, oh, my goodness, that might be a penalty. I told my partner, and we asked Robbie the rules official, and sure enough, it was.

“It was just one of those things that I wasn’t really paying attention or thinking. If we were on the tee box, no problem. But it was just a foot in front, and it’s just one of those things. So you take your penalty and you move on. It’s happened before, not just at The Open, but a number of times. A lot of times guys just inadvertently do things, and I just wasn’t thinking.”

Mickelson now heads overseas to play the Scottish Open before heading to Carnoustie in an attempt to win his sixth career Major Championship.

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