US Open: Butch Harmon reflects on Phil Mickelson’s penalty incident

Butch Harmon gives his verdict on the Phil Mickelson penalty incident and discusses how he thinks it should have been dealt with at Shinnecock Hills.

Phil is a friend of my mine and I respect him tremendously, but I don’t like what happened or his post-round interview. I wasn’t impressed with how he handled the situation and what he said.

For me, it’s a breach of the rules. He didn’t want the ball to roll all the way down the hill behind the bunker where he wouldn’t have a shot, so preferred to take the two-shot penalty and hit the ball on the move.

That’s not right and we can’t teach young people to play golf like that. He is entitled to his opinion and to do what he wants, but I don’t agree with it.

I don’t know whether the USGA will look at it again after they saw his interview, where he admitted he stopped the ball on purpose. Social media is crucifying him and in this case, rightfully so.

I would agree with those who suggested he should be disqualified. I don’t think legally you can stop the ball from moving and then he admitted he did it on purpose, which is where I think he broke the rule.

It couldn’t have helped his playing partner Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston and there’s no way he could have played through what was going on. It was a shame for Beef, who was really looking forward to playing with Mickelson.

I think it will be interesting to see how Mickelson reacts after a night of thinking about it. He may realise that he made a mistake in how he justified what he did. I would hope that he would man up and say that he made a bad mistake in the heat of the moment.

Watch the final round of the US Open on Sunday from 4.30pm on Sky Sports Golf and 6.30pm on Sky Sports Main Event.

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