Phil Mickelson penalized after hitting moving ball

Phil Mickelson putting meltdown at U.S. Open is epic (Video)

Throughout the morning, fans at tee boxes and greens had been serenading the five-time majors champion - who still needs a U.S. Open title to complete the career Grand Slam - with strains of "Happy Birthday".

Phil Mickelson has sparked controversy at the US Open by striking a moving ball in a breach of golfing etiquette, with Australian Steve Elkington leading the criticism. He shot 81 for the round.

"Going into [Saturday], I needed something special to happen to even have an outside chance", he said.

He was immediately issued with a two shot penalty for his actions and he's surely longing for the clubhouse now.

Phil Mickelson says he didn't mean any disrespect when he hit a moving ball on the 13th green at the U.S. Open.

The USGA assessed a two-stroke penalty but many golf rules experts have said in the hours since that he should have been disqualified on the spot. Had he played the ball conventionally, he risked a score higher than the 10 he ended up getting on the par 4 hole.

"Usually we sell everything well in advance, but NY is a very savvy ticket market and we've seen a lot of sales on-site".

"That's different than if he had deliberately just stopped the ball or whacked it in another direction or something like that".

Mickelson didn't publicly apologise for his actions on Saturday, and didn't talk to the press on Sunday after his final-round 69, but he did send a text message to some members of the media in which he admitted it was "not my finest moment".

Mickelson - who was also celebrating his 48th birthday - explained the move after the round. But he praised the setup earlier this week and said again Saturday that it was tough and "everyone has to play it".

Mickelson and playing partner Andrew Johnston were laughing about the incident as they walked off the green and Mickelson added: "How can you not laugh?"

"That's the most out of character I've ever seen Phil Mickelson", Fox analyst Paul Azinger said.

Several Tour pros have come out and said that Mickelson should have been disqualified for the actions.

"I've never seen anything like it".

This is one of the more surprising things you'll see. And in that situation, it was just going- I was just going back and forth. He entered the final day in a four-way tie at 3 over and was still only one stroke behind Koepka when they made the turn.

Mickelson, however, said he did not have a momentary lapse and did not do it out of frustration.

"I don't think people thought that was the intent, but I'll take his word it was his intent". I took the two-shot penalty and moved on.

A loophole that some will consider against the general ethos of the game, Mickelson confirmed that there were "multiple times he wanted to do it" before today's incident on the 13th.

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