(Reuters) - Phil Mickelson apologised on Wednesday for putting a moving ball during the third round of last week’s U.S. Open, saying he is “embarrassed” for a lapse in judgment that sparked a storm of controversy.
The five-times major champion was already out of contention for victory when he deliberately prevented his ball from rolling off the 13th green at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, New York, by running after the ball and hitting it back towards the hole.
“I know this should’ve come sooner, but it’s taken me a few days to calm down. My anger and frustration got the best of me last weekend,” Mickelson told Golf Channel in a note shared with a select group of media members.
“I’m embarrassed and disappointed by my actions. It was clearly not my finest moment and I’m sorry.”
Mickelson, 48, did not speak to reporters after Sunday’s final round of the U.S. Open, where he finished in a share of 48th place and 15 shots back of repeat champion Brooks Koepka.
The world number 19 initially defended his actions, saying after Saturday’s third round that he deliberately incurred a two-shot penalty rather than risk running up a bigger score.
The latest comments from Mickelson, however, suggest his actions — which many critics felt bent the usual etiquette and spirit of the game — were more of an impulse rather than the calculated use of the rule book.
Many of Mickelson’s peers were among those who felt his actions should have resulted in a disqualification from the U.S. Open, the lone event he needs to win to complete the career grand slam of golf’s four majors.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar