The American golfer was accused of being disrespectful to the game for his actions at Shinnecock Hills this weekend
Phil Mickelson may have damaged his career and legacy as one of America’s great golfers by his controversial actions during the US Open this weekend.
The 48-year-old was accused of being ‘extremely disrespectful’ to the game when he deliberately stopped his ball from rolling off the 13th green on Saturday after a poorly-judged putt.
Commentators were shocked by Mickelson’s behaviour, with the golfer admitting after Saturday’s round that he ‘took advantage of the rules’ by taking the two-stroke penalty for stopping a moving ball, instead of having to play another shot onto the green.
Action was expected, and yet the three-time Masters winner stepped out to complete his final round on Sunday, much to the shock of many.
He even mocked his actions from the previous day by celebrating when he sunk his putt for par (4) on the same hole on Sunday, having recorded 10 on Saturday.
And talkSPORT’s golf supremo Bob Bubka believes the controversy from this weekend may affect Mickelson for the rest of his career, and may even damage his chances of captaining the US Ryder Cup team.
Speaking on Extra Time in the early hours of Monday morning, Bubka told talkSPORT: “I don’t condone Phil’s behaviour on the golf course at all, I think it was embarrassing.
“I took a lot of time today and solicited opinions of people I respect in the game and it was unanimous – what Phil Mickelson did was extremely disrespectful to the game.
“He should have on his own doing informed Mike Davis, the head of the United States Golf Association, that was going to withdraw from the tournament.
“He lost control of his emotions momentarily but that’s no excuse.
“I showed up at Shinnecock this morning half expecting not to see Phil there, I expected a letter or a press conference announcing he was going to withdraw, but he did not do that, he went out and played.
“The unanimous response is that Phil will pay, but he will pay in the locker room with the treatment from other players.
“Boy oh boy, when you have the other players turn against you, your entire career can suffer.
“I think that could happen to Phil, although he is extremely popular.”
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Bob later joined the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast to provide an update on the situation, revealing Mickelson did in fact offer to withdraw from the tournament, but that organisers said he was free to play on.
He added: “I kept digging and what a lot of people don’t know is that Phil Mickelson after the round called Mike Davis.
He said, ‘If I have committed that serious a breach of the rules, I want to withdraw’, and Mike Davis said to Phil Mickelson, ‘You don’t have to, it’s well within the rules that you continue to play’.
“Many of us were hoping Phil would withdraw, but he let that decision be made by Mike Davis and so he got to play.”